Saturday, November 13, 2010

Like Daughter, Like Mother

*Warning: This post may be contain angst. There are just a few things I need to get off my chest*

A year ago today I drove to Indy to go to the doctor with my Mum to hear results of her recent breast biopsy.

The biopsy was a year ago Wednesday, preceded by a mammogram a year ago Monday. I wasn't able to go with her because I had chemo that Monday, which sucked in layers.

When I got breast cancer, both my Mum and sister, Jennie, came to Cincy for my lumpectomy and my mastectomy. As soon Jennie went home to Charleston, she did not pass go, did not collect $200, but went directly to the mammogram center. They sent my sister (who was feeling my pain in her own bosom the way sisters do) home without even giving her boobs a good feel for good measure, and told her to come back when she turned 35, so insurance would cover it. Her 35th birthday was only 2 months away.


Thank God that mammogram came back OK.

But seriously, Grr....

My Mum did not proceed directly to the nearest mammogram center. She doesn't have insurance-


-so it didn't even enter her mind. Until she saw a commercial by the Little Red Door Cancer Agency advertising free mammograms. So my Mum got a mammogram. They found a lump. They followed up with a biopsy.

Thank you, Little Red Door.

Still, she wasn't supposed to get breast cancer. I had taken the genetic test and "passed".

I knew the 1/8 breast cancer stats. I know this might sound sick, but I often find myself doing the math when I'm in groups of women, and if I'm the 8th, sometimes I think to myself, "Cancer dibs! Please, God. No more cancer in this group of women."

Then I make a mad dash to another group of seven women. And then another... which I know is probably, not technically fair. But it's not like cancer plays fair.

If you oughta be able to, for sure, be the 1 in 8 for anybody, your Mum oughta be one of the seven. But a year ago today I was sitting in the doctor's office with my Mum, her 2 sisters, 3 friends (=7) when the doctor (a female) said the C-word to my Mum.


(I didn't really say Grr.... Sometimes I say really bad words at cancer and it makes me feel better. I don't mean to offend anybody when I do that. It's just that sometimes I get so offended by cancer that I either forget to, or don't feel like, being eloquent. Sometimes I get so ticked off at cancer there are no words to express. Sometimes, like today, I have this nagging grr... that I just have to get off my chest. I mean, it's not like I've got any convenient places to hide stuff there anymore.)

Anyway. Jennie flew to Indy for our Mum's lumpectomy, and thankfully, I was able to make it too, since it was scheduled in between my second-to-last and FINAL! chemos.

Thank God for the Little Red Door because that mammogram she got after seeing their commercial helped them find the cancer early.

Like my oncologist says, "Early diagnosis, excellent prognosis." It's a mantra she drilled into me so deeply that I could slur it, at will, even in a chemo fog.

Unfortunately, my Mum's breast surgeon wasn't happy with the margins she got, so she scheduled a second lumpectomy.

I couldn't make it to my Mum's second lumpectomy. We both had surgeries scheduled a day apart in separate cities. Neither of us could be there for the other's.

I had downed my last chemo for an early Christmas present, and was scheduled to have the port removed on Epiphany. Her surgery was scheduled for the day after my surgery. Which also happened to be the day before my end of chemo, Not-a-Chemo-Cocktail-Party. Which, unfortunately, she obviously had to miss, sine she was recovering from her surgery.

Fortunately, the breast surgeon felt really good about the margins after my Mum's second lumpectomy. Then she knocked down 33 radiation treatments. Now she's on Tamoxifin, but she's technically cancer free. And it's been a year today! Go Mum! Way to kick cancer's ass! Happy Cancerversary! Yeah, it was the worst day, but it was also the first day, of the rest of your life. So cheers, to health and happiness! Yeah, it's been one hell of a year, but you're one hell of a cancer ass kicker. So go you!

(Isn't it a good thing we're both too old for you to chase after me with a bar of soap to wash my mouth. Whew.)

Anyway, way to go, Mum!

And, in honor of your 1-year cancerversary, here's a video of Amanda singing the "Cancer is a Bitch" song, which she wrote for my last chemo and performed at my Not-a-Chemo-Cocktail-Party. Pretend you are me, and that she's singing to you. Of course, you'll have to minus all the references to chemo and insert radiation-type terms, but you get the idea. And yeah, I know it's also not Christmas. Normally I don't pull out the Christmas music until the day after Thanksgiving, but I think this particular one is my one exception.


Anonymous said...

Wonderful blog! This has also been on my mind all day.....including the fact that it was so close to Joyce's birthday, and we are blessed to get to celebrate another birthday with her next Thursday...YEH!!
Love and blessings to both of you,
Auntie C & Uncle B

Deb said...

My Mom had Estrogen sensitive breast cancer a little over 15 years ago. I started yearly Mammograms prior to turning 40. It's a good thing that I did. My lump was found 2years ago in October. We caught it early but, I had the very aggressive triple negative kind. I had a lumpectomy, chemo, ugh, and radiation. The radiation is a breeze in comparison to chemo. I remember feeling like I was going to see Santa Clause when I went for the first visit with the Radiation Oncologist. "You want to burn by boob?, that sounds great as long as there is no more chemo". My BRACA was also negative, but, it makes you wonder if they just do not know all of the various genes that may predispose one to cancer. On the up end, I'm 2/3's of the way to being pronounced unofficially cured. Triple negative is so fast growing that if it doesn't rear it's ugly head in three years time it probably won't. Yeah!!!

Unknown said...

I really enjoyed reading that. What an odyssey your family has been through. Proud of you for your attitude and resources. Thanks for writing so well about it.

Anonymous said...

Great post, Darling! I love you.