Saturday, October 1, 2011

An update on Mom

First of all I want to thank everyone who has offered prayers and support for my mom, and also for my family. We are all so thankful for everything.

I apologize for not giving more information at the time of the post, I was just still in too much shock from the news.

In conversation with my Mom yesterday, I pretty much knew earlier this week that this was not going to have a positive outcome. I didn't want to think it, I didn't want to feel it, but it turns out that Mom was pretty much on the same page of thought.

Mom had her biopsies on Tuesday and was told 3-5 days for the results. She took Wednesday off from work to recover from the biopsy procedure (which, she said, was not too bad in the long run) and went back to work on Thursday. The hospital called her Thursday afternoon to have her come in, but by the time she got the message, the doctor's office was closed. So she started calling at 8am yesterday morning.

I touched base with her right before my 9am class, no appointment yet. I called her at 9:50 after I took my exam, no appointment yet. I was in a class lecture when I saw my brother calling my cell phone. I knew it wasn't going to be good.

Once I played the message, I gathered my things and went to Dale (she works on campus -- always good to have a friend nearby) and broke down. Dale was able to calm me down, offered me a shoulder, and got me to a point where I felt composed enough to drive.

I went home, I called Mom.

They discovered during the biopsy that there was a third mass behind one of the other two masses so they biopsied that one, too. All are positive for cancer. The cancer started in a milk duct and spread outward. They won't know until a follow-up MRI (scheduled for 10/13) how far along the cancer is, or the exact size of the masses. She meets with a surgeon on 10/14. They typically like to schedule surgical procedures within a week of the surgical appointment.

What they discussed with Mom is definite lumpectomy, possible lymph node removal, possible mastectomy (whether partial, or whole, it is no yet determined), and chemo/radiation of some sort.

Mom's biggest concerns are 1) She is still planning on coming up to Michigan for Christmas and wants them to do whatever they need to do now (As she put it to me, "If I have to crawl, I'll be crawling!") and 2) she doesn't want to miss too much work. They discussed at least preparing the FLMA paperwork, but she wants to only use her stored up sick time.

This morning when Mom and I were talking she said she feels she has let everyone down. That she is weak. I reassured her that none of us think that, that she is an amazingly strong woman and she is going to get through this.

She asked how my dad is doing/looking since his heart surgery in July. I told her he's looking great (no longer death warmed over). She started to cry. She said that two days ago as far as she was concerned she didn't have cancer. And she said she still feels and looks like she did then, but this morning she looked in the mirror and said "You have cancer." I cannot imagine what she is feeling or going through. I told her that yes, she does, but it is not going to define who she is as a person. She is still so amazing, so beautiful, talented and loving (along with so many other things).

I asked her what I can do right now for her. She told me to help her learn to like pink more. I picked up a sock monkey hat for her while I ran last minute errands (she adores sock monkeys). I told her she was going to have quite the collection of hats. I also reminded her that Dale and I are willing to make dreads in any color for her, and of course there is that tattoo to be planned ;) We're moving on to humor, optimism.

When the surgery is scheduled, I'll be going down to Indiana for a few days. I wish I could be there with her through it all, but I know she does have a great support system in place.

Right now Chase is handling it all pretty well. He's had time to prepare for this possible outcome. It will be probably be different when Mom is here on Monday, but we shall see. Thankfully my Dad and stepmom arrived last night, so they are a pleasant distraction. Steve knows (he's been working up in Mesick, the Mushroom Capital of the US!) this week and is due home tonight.

This weekend will be focused on my parents and kicking off the birthday festivities with Chase (Hey.. 10 is a big deal -- it deserves ten days of celebration).

I hope everyone has a lovely weekend.


  1. Hugs Emily. She is still the same Mom she always was. Sending love and healing. Xxx

  2. My prayers are with you and your mom...


  3. Emily, I have not stopped thinking of you and your mom all day while I have been out. You know all you have to do is say the word and I will help in any way you need! {I mean it}.
    Would your mom like us to make hats for her? I would be happy to, if she needs them. When my dad and my father in-law went thru all of this, neither of them lost any hair so you never know. Much love to you. xx

  4. I will continue to pray for your mom and your family. blessings ~ Tanna

  5. Snap Emily
    I just got back on the computer for this weekend. I am sorry to hear the news about your mom. Please know that she, and you and your family are in our prayers -
    God Bless

  6. Your family are in my thoughts. I'm glad you have found humour and are finding a postive approach. You are obviously a very strong family, which I trust will help you all. If in doubt, knit!

  7. I am still praying for you and your mom! She can beat this!! Thank you for the update and tell your mom that we all in the blog world are thinking about her :)

  8. Oh Emily, I have been gone too long. I am so sorry, big hugs and lots of love your way. Your mom sounds wonderful and I love her comment about wanting to like pink more. My thoughts will be with you and your family and your mom as she fights this thing.

  9. @The Barefoot Crofter

    That's exactly what I keep trying to tell her. I've not been through a health crisis like this personally, so I have no idea how she feels (other than what she tells me, of course) but I keep telling her she is still a wonderful, loved, beautiful talented woman. I just need to keep reminding her of this.

    Hugs and love

  10. @Tracey

    Tracey -- Thank you so much for thinking of my Mom (and us) this past weekend. It really means so much to both of us.

    I told Mom about your offer in regards to the hats and she would appreciate it. We don't know what kind of treatment she is going to end up having after surgery, but she does know she is cutting her hair soon (which is down past her waist currently).

    So if you have the time and would like to knit a hat, I know she would appreciate it.


  11. @Karen

    Thank you so much Karen! We appreciate all the prayers.

  12. @Cheryl

    Thank you, Cheryl! I always turn to humor as my coping mechanism. :) But knitting is a good substitute!

  13. @Swanski

    Thanks Karen! I told her everyone is thinking good thoughts and praying for her in the blogosphere. You all have no idea how much this means to her (I will be writing a post about this later).

  14. @MJ

    Thanks MJ! I keep reminding my Mom that this is just a minor setback on the road. She is still quite determined to live until 100 and open up a bakery with Chase.

  15. Oh, Emily! I am so sorry to hear this! I have obviously never met her, but I have a feeling that your mom is one strong lady. She (and you) will be in our thoughts. Much love.

  16. Emily, My Mom has been ill most of my life. She has many problems, that really don't pertain to the situation at all, other than to illustrate that I understand. The most important thing really is understanding that when she looks in the mirror she really is absolutely the same person she was three weeks ago. She is not cancer, she is herself and your mom and Chase's grandma. That much like when we become a mom it is easy to allow that to completely define us, but we are more than a mom we are ourselves, for now her focus is on cancer learning about it, raging against it, fighting it, dealing with how it effects her but she is the important part of that. I don't know if this is of any help to you, I hope so. You are all in my prayers. Let me know if you need anything - even just someone to vent to.

  17. @Julia


    This actually helps a lot.

    I'm sorry to hear that your own mom has been ill for so long.