For Anyone Who Has A Family Member Out There Going Through The Stages Of Breast Cancer

It’s pumpkin spice season everywhere again from lattes to ice cream. Along with that, stores once again bring out Christmas trees in mid October to force you to believe that if you don’t have a Christmas tree, is it really Christmas?

Nonetheless, October marks the start of a really special time for me. It has always been special to me. From the weather changing to hot to cool and the sun setting sooner. From the cold air in the mornings to the chilling wind at night. Everything feels different.

Even Halloween, which used to be my favorite holiday, how could it not? Free unlimited candy, getting to dress up as something you’re not, and scary movies at midnight. But now, there’s something even more special about October, and it’s that it’s Brest Cancer Awareness Month.

Breast cancer awareness has been going on for many many years, but it never actually meant anything to me until about two years ago. I knew about it. I knew women were very prone to breast cancer, but I did not understand the actual damage breast cancer can do to a person and to the persons family. Yes, I knew it was bad, horrible even, I mean it’s a cancer, but I hadn’t seen it from the inside as I had when my mother was diagnosed with it.

I can’t speak for how she felt when she found out that she had breast cancer. I can only speak for myself. And this is actually really for anyone who has a family member out there going through the stages of this horrible disease.

I know how you feel, I was there. I cried so much. And it’s ok to cry, you’re human and you need to let it out. Trust me it’s so hard to try to keep it all together. That’s what I thought. I thought that by always showing a strong stern face at every moment, I would be stronger. But all that energy I used to do so I needed it be there for my mother.

Another thing that I discovered is that it’s okay to tell people. Don’t keep it to yourself. Sure, some people will pity you and some people will praise you for being so brave. Stick to those people and let the other people go. You need all the help you can get, all the support, and love that friends will bring you. Because your time soon will be given to your loved one, and that’s all you’ll want to do.

And now, with all the hospital visits, the surgeries, and the recovery that I have seen my mother go through it has made me apréciate her so much more and realize what a strong woman she is. A powerful, courage, strong woman.

So if you have some one out there going through this, be there for them, cry with them, and don’t take them for granted, don’t let them give up the fight. If you’re the one going through this, let me tell you I’m sorry, but you are strong, and you will fight this. You will be victorious.

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ICU, Paint, And Recovery

Success. My mother’s surgery went great. Ten long hours went by like a wink of an eye and it was soon over.

I’ve had an overwhelming amount of support from friends and people from church. I never imagined people would care. I know that most of them do it because it’s a nice thing to do. But I appreciate the ones that do it form the heart.

I haven’t slept much. While my mother has been in the hospital I wanted to surprise her when she comes back. I’m painting the kitchen and the bathroom. The bathroom will be blue and the kitchen will be white. I can’t wait for her to see it.

She’s been at the hospital since Friday. She was in ICU since this morning and then they moved her to a regular room. Which is great news. They want to discharge her by tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully she gets well soon. She’s walking on her own although she does need help getting up but that’s a great start.

Once she’s back home I’ll need to rest in between me taking care of her and also driving my brother to and from work. I don’t go back until October the ninth. I think I will be well rested for that.

Right now I’m trying really hard not to spend money since I’m not getting paid for this time off. But I know somehow we will get through this rut.

Surgery

We have another life decision to make. Well, my mom does.

It’s time for her reconstruction surgery. We saw the doctor and he gave us two options of what she can chose to do.

The first one is the most common. Breast implants. It’s the usual surgery of implanting silicone bags where the breast used to be. There are not too many complications. The only down side is she would be needing to change the bags every 10 years or so, as it is recommended.

The other option, the one that frightens me, is having part of her own fat transferred from the stomach or another part of the body, to her breast.

This one has more complications. It involves the doctors removing fat and arteries from a part of her body and putting it the place where her old breast used to be. This surgery is 8-10 hour surgery and she would need to be under intensive care since it involves arteries.

The second one scares me the most since the surgery lasts so long and the fact that something can go wrong with the veins and such is what scares me the most. But it seems that this is the one she is leaning towards the most.

She explained that even though its so long and there are risks, once its all over it will be over, and it will be part of  her body. The implants she will have to replace every two years and her body might not take them well.

What made her even more confident is that the doctor told her that she was a great candidate for the fat transfer. Hearing this also made me feel better about that surgery but over all its her decisions and she will do what she thinks is  best for her.

 

If You Have Breasts, Get Them Checked

Let’s talk about my mother.

I feel like I haven’t talked about her for a while and she’s the most important thing in my life. Yes, at times she is annoying and frustrates me to death, but I still love her.

Last week we saw the Breast Cancer Coordinator. She was really nice and helpful trying to get us to see the plastic surgeon as fast as we couldn’t for my moms reconstruction therapy. She told us she needed all of my moms medical records.

So yesterday we went around town driving to clinics and labs picking up the records my mom requested last week. Question: why do you have to pay for medical records that are yours? I find that really annoying. That’s like your life on paper and you have to pay to obtain it. It’s really rude.

But atlas, we got them all. At one clinic they couldn’t find her in their records. My heart sort of sank. I didn’t need this at the moment. Like we need her records and the records couldn’t be found. But with the miracle form the lord or actual hard work from the medical records intern they were able to find them.

After all that my mom decided that we needed to make copies just in case they asked for them again we wouldn’t have to go through all that. So I bought some ink for my printer but apparently it’s broken now. So that was a waste of money.

I came to the local library instead to copy them. Was almost the same price as buying the ink. But what are you going to do? Things break, money comes and goes, what’s important is that my mom gets back her feel good attitude that every woman deserves . And I know that this surgery will help her.

She wants this all to be done as I do too. I really hate breast cancer. So if you have breasts, get them checked.

Ten Years

Yesterday we went to the oncologist and finally got the results on my mom's breast cancer tissue and what type of cancer it was. I think it was something like invasive carcinoma. She wrote it down on our paper because it was a tricky word. But she said if there was cancer that if you had to have a cancer this one was the one to have. Doctors and their doctors sense of humor.

Basically it's three hormones to feed the cancer cell. So estrogen, progesterone, and HER 2 negative. That's what this type of cancer feeds off. And my mom had the combination of the three. Well don't quote me on this, she has estrogen and progesterone, but she was negative on HER 2 which is a protein or something that controls how healthy breast cells grow, so obviously with out it it's perfect for cancer to grow.

Now that we knew what happened we could find a solution. The doctor said she didn't need to have chemo, which was great news. We didn't want to go through all that pain since it was already hard enough. So she said instead she would just have to take a pill… for ten years.

At first I laughed because I thought she had miss placed her words or she was joking like doctors do, but no, she was serious. It's called Tamoxifen. It's an anti-estrogen hormone. So she said that that will stop them from coming together and forming any other cancer cells on the other breast.

I was looking into the drug and it seems pretty good. The doctor said there's almost a 100% survival rate after five years which is really really great news. The thing is it's a good $100 to get per month. We haven't gone to get it at the pharmacy yet, we will today, I'm hoping that our insurance covers it.


Update, it did. At least for about five months. It has some side effects though. Not that all bad but we just have to keep an eye on her. I'm glad we're getting though this. It has been the toughest year yet for us but some how we managed to get through it. Really makes me smile and feel good to see how strong my family is.