cancer With a Lower case “c”

There are four stages of breast cancer and a million different types. Okay, not a million but there is a lot.

Honestly, it is a lot to wrap your head around.

When my mom called to tell me of her diagnosis I didn’t have a lot of questions. I simply heard the word “cancer” and that was enough for me to know that everything was about to change.

Life was about to happen.

I have discovered that when someone you love gets diagnosed, you get diagnosed too. Everything becomes a “we” and the world shifts in a very unpredictable way. Don’t get me wrong, my mom is the only one with cancer and the only one going through hell. However, I get a front row seat to her promenade; all of the pain and fear, but mostly the bravery.

My mom gave me permission to write about her journey and because of the last post I wrote about her When The Curls Drop over 2700 people were reached. Including an organization that is about to bless her in a big way (more on that later.)

My mom has invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) which is the most common type of breast cancer. From what I understand, IDC starts in a milk duct of the breast, breaks through the wall of the duct, and grows into the fatty tissue of the breast. It forms a mass that is then considered cancer. My mom has it over her left breast and it is about an inch around.

On top of all the different types of cancer there are also various stages of cancer as well. The stage of cancer is usually described as a number on a scale of 0 through IV — with stage 0 describing non-invasive cancers that remain within their original location and stage IV describing invasive cancers that have spread outside the breast to other parts of the body.

My mom has stage II.

Fortunately the cancer has not spread to her lymph nodes but because of where the tumor is on her breast she has to undergo 20 weeks of chemo. She has already undergone her first week of chemo and is currently going through her second week.

Chemo is known as the red devil but mom says, “It is the love potion that is killing the red devil.”

At first the chemo will be every other week and then towards the end the chemo will be weekly. Based on how the tumor shrinks will determine if she needs to undergo a lumpectomy or a mastectomy. Based on that decision we will know how much radiation she needs.

See a lot of information, huh?

My mom has taken lots of notes and so are we, the caregivers.

My dad is doing everything her can for her. It is rather sweet to watch. But I can see the worry in his eyes. We know that she will be ok in the end but we all wish more then anything that she didn’t have to go through this.

My Aunt Cherri gave her “Give Em’ Hell” socks. And my mom is. She has yet to throw up from the chemo but has gotten very nauseous and fatigued. She is currently working through her chemo. Luckily her work place has been extremely sweet and very accommodating.

She has also gotten an outpouring of gifts from all her friends and the family. It amazes me to see how loved my mom is. Not that I am surprised. She is one of those people that lights up every room.

I haven’t done much to help out, aside from giving her grandma time, which she loves.

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I am also reading up on the best foods to eat while undergoing chemo and then plan on putting them into action. So be on the watch for that post too.

My mom will also lose her hair this
week, so emotions are running high. All you have to do is touch her head lightly and small strands of red invade your hand. I don’t blame mom for wanting to shave her head. Watching my hair slowing fall out would kill me too.

Did you know that 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.

My mom is part of the 12% but she says that cancer doesn’t deserve a capital “C” because only important things like God deserve a capital letter.

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trails, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.” ~ Romans 5:3-5

References:

Types of Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer Stages

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