Thursday, January 21, 2010

BC

No not birth control, but the dreaded breast cancer. One of the bloggers that I follow mentioned today that she has been dealing with her Mom's breast cancer and the trials that go along with it--reading her post made me realize it is something I haven't really talked about on here.

In September 2006 my Mom got diagnosed with breast cancer, it was incredibly scary. It was something that you never thought you'd hear about your own family member. My mom went in for a routine mammogram and they saw something in her left breast. She then went the next day and had it biopsied and found out probably the day after that it was in fact breast cancer (one of the many privledges of working in health care is that you can expidite these types of things). She had her surgery scheduled and had a lumpectomy basically right after the diagnosis.

The lumpectomy went fine, she came out of the surgery with flying colors. She stayed in the hospital for two nights and had two different friends, one stay with her each night (they are both nurses, hell, a hospital is a scary place. I'd want a bulldog if I were there also). She recovered pretty quickly and planned on returning to work after only missing a couple of day, but she had to go in for a PET scan (I'm pretty sure that was the scan, this was before I was in nursing school, so I honestly didn't pay attention to much of this stuff) to see if her breast margins were clear (which means they removed all the cancerous cells that they thought were in and around the tumor), however she had a mass on her thyroid as well.

The thyroid was biopsied and it was determined that it was cancerous. After recovering from her lumpectomy she basically went in immediately for removal of her thyroid. This surgery was not nearly as "easy" as the breast surgery. They split her throat completely from the left side to the right side and then removed her entire thyroid. She had to take 6 weeks off after this surgery. Her vocal cords were tramatized so she couldn't speak and when she regained the ability to speak a few weeks later, she sounded like Minnie Mouse for the next 18-24 months--it is something we can joke about now.

My mom went back to work and had radiation for her breasts during her lunch time. She was a trooper though that, she did have a wicked sunburn on her boob and armpit--take if from someone who is really pale, if you haven't had a bad sunburn you don't want one. As far as for the thyroid she had to have what is called radioactive iodine tests where she had to spend about 3 days in the hospital to check for thyroid cancer cells that may be growing around. Having her thyroid out messed with her hormones big time!! She gained a bit of weight, was tired all the time, was hot and cold while they were trying to find the right dosage of sythroid for her to be on, but by the time she was done with her radiation it was only Jan and we were psyched that cancer was and still is a thing of the past.

Don't get me wrong, we are always still worried when my mom has to go in for her yearly or biyearly exams. We probably always will, she will always have to be on a form of hormones to act as her thyroid, but this is the new norm.

With anything like this you have to find and accept your new norm--our new norm is something we've embraced. This whole ordeal made pink my signature color, I was never a pink girl before this--see, embracing your new norm. :)

This a picture almost a year exactly after she finished treatment and we ran a breast cancer half marathon--let me tell you, that was the most incredible experience.

7 comments:

Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

What a sweet post and tribute to your mother. So many women go through this, and each of their stories are remarkable. Thank you for sharing hers.

Ashley @ {Let Go, Laughing} said...

great post about your mom... it is always encouraging to hear the success stories but i know how scary it is...

Allison said...

I went through the same thing with my mother, and I convinced her to get a bilateral masectomy. She only needed a lumpectomy, but she decided that she never wanted to worry about her breast cancer again. It's so scary, and we're both very lucky for our mom's success.

Lil' Woman said...

What a beautiful post for your mama! :) It's always wonderful to hear about the ones that made it through...it's a tough road but it great to look for the light at the end of the tunnel.

Shanna said...

Aw sweet post! Yay for cancer free!

redwhitebride said...

great post, meg! thanks for sharing. many, many greetings to your mom!

Becca said...

Oh gosh! I can't imagine how difficult that must have been! I am so glad that things went well and I will be praying that the cancer never returns.