Sunday, January 31, 2010

Blogging From Oklahoma

I'm here at Mom and Dad's in Oklahoma this Sunday night.

Mom had her mastectomy on Wednesday afternoon. The waiting room was really full with many families represented and her surgery was pushed back several hours. But once she was taken back for surgery, I think our family group was the only one who received regular updates directly from the operating room. What a blessing to be kept in the loop during those long hours!

Her doctor has been so conscientious all along and surgical day was no exception.

He even made a point of having the nurse call us the moment they had the results of the sentinel node biopsy - all clear. I was so excited by that call that everyone was telling me I was almost yelling into the phone when I started calling other family members. Sorry - couldn't help being thrilled by such wonderful news in the midst of difficult circumstances.

After surgery, Mom went into post-op recovery which was supposed to last from 45 minutes to an hour.

We waited.

And waited.

Time seemed to slow as the hours dragged on. That was the only time throughout the entire day that I lost that sense of peace momentarily. Just wanted to see Mom and know that she'd come through it all okay.

Because of nausea and a blood sugar spike we were kept apart for three more hours. Finally around 8:00 that evening we were notified that she was assigned a room and being prepped to come down the hallway. I waited by the doors at the end of the hall until I heard the wheels of the bed hit the linoleum.

Her face was a glorious sight to behold.

Even though her eyes were still closed, I told her hi and that the nodes had come back clear. She responded with a groggy but thankful "good", as I knew that would be the first thing she'd want to know.

Tomorrow we should hear back on the post-surgical pathology report from microscopic testing of the node. It's just the final follow-up to ensure there is absolutely no possibility of any cancer still present in the body.

We are all praying it comes back clean too.

Then we'll decide where we go from here. So far so good, I have to say.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Bitter New Year

Can I be honest here?

Thus far, the New Year has been a real bite for my family. I'd love to use more colorful language here, but I've never used such language and wonder, why bother starting now?

Besides my dear mother's recent diagnosis of breast cancer, my grandmother (mom's mom) passed away last Friday morning. We had her services Tuesday.

For one thing I am thankful. When I went down last week to accompany my mother to her follow-up doctor's appointment and scans, we spent a few hours at the nursing home visiting Grandma. Even though she was virtually unresponsive most of our visit, I do believe she was able to hear us and tried to talk once. Two of my aunts were there to see to her care while my mother was occupied with her own health needs those days. I'm so glad they were there to be together during such difficult circumstances.

They even were able to stop by Mom and Dad's to celebrate with my mother her good news Wednesday evening. Just before five, the doctor's office received the scan results and immediately called my mother. The scans appeared clear - no cancer anywhere else in the body, not in the lymph nodes and not in the chest wall muscle. It's all appears to be contained in the breast tissue.

So I guess that's two things I'm thankful for.

Now it is a race to reach the 27th, when my mother's mastectomy surgery is scheduled. Everyday counts at this point - Mom really wants to get that cancer out of her body before there is any chance of it spreading further.

We're praying for a miracle - that can come directly from the Lord's hand or through the hands of a doctor. I want to keep my mother around for many years to come. Call me selfish if you want.

Then we'll see at the end of the year - maybe it won't end up so bad after all.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Unfamiliar Territory

This week our family finds itself in unfamiliar territory.

My mother has aggressive breast cancer.

The entire idea has just been a huge shock to our family. There's not a hint of cancer anywhere in our family. My mother has been healthy and taken care of herself all of her life.

I guess there are times when you just can't explain the unexplainable.

Yesterday when I found out, I broke down and spent the evening crying my eyes out and worried sick about my dear mother. Today I have been in planning and preparation mode.

We already know she will have a mastectomy, but now the question is how invasive will it be and how extensive is the cancer. My gracious boss told me to do what I need to do and take care of my mother, so after we return home from our consolation visit this weekend I will be returning Tuesday to sit with her through the next doctor visit and then Wednesday the PET-CT and MRI scans. I will be meeting with their fairly new pastor to explain a few things and then set up post-operative care and meals arrangement with several ladies in their church.

I cannot bear the thought of my mother being alone during this time. Thanks to my boss and the wonderful company I'm blessed to be working for, I know she won't be.

And even in the midst of tragedy there's a breath of peace.