A Cancer Story

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My mother's battle with breast cancer
A year ago today, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Today, she's still here. I didn't realize the date, but saw she had left me an instant message when I got home tonight from going out. Here's to the next several batches of 365, Mom. I love you.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 8/16/2008 11:07:55 PM | Feedback (5)
Spring Break is supposed to be warm with beaches and scantily clad high school girls parading around. 'Cept I'm up in Atlanta visiting Mom where it's overcast and like 60 degrees (as a side bit of trivia, I think in Florida, water freezes at 58 degrees). This may explain the complete lack of posting, but then again, maybe not. It's the first time I've seen my mom since her surgery. Her hair is starting to grow back, but it's a little odd to see her with what amounts to a buzz cut. She's doing...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 4/7/2008 10:08:04 AM | Feedback (6)
Today is Mom's last chemotherapy treatment. I've not written about it lately, mostly because the news hasn't been all that great. After the 4th treatment, she never "bounced back" and remained sick from then on out. Last night she couldn't even muster up any happiness that today was the last treatment. Standard chemo fare. Nausea, bones aching, everything tastes terrible, depression. But when it never gets better, it can definitely wear down on you. So, the final treatment is today, but it...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 2/19/2008 3:06:42 PM | Feedback (11)
Mom is in her 3rd chemo treatment today. 3rd of 6 total. While technically "halfway" will be 10 days from now, as far as treatments go this is the middle. She's been able to hang in there. Tomorrow she'll be ok, Thursday she'll start feeling rough and will be out of commission on Friday and possibly the weekend. Then after that, she's ok until the next treatment with only the standard issues normally associated with chemotherapy. But, at least it is, for the most part, halfway over.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 12/18/2007 11:43:08 AM | Feedback (1)
Mom went through her second chemo treatment yesterday. Like the first one, she didn't have an problems with the treatment itself, but she's worried about today and tomorrow. After her first treatment she suffered a severe panic attack as one of the side effects. I felt horrible for her, especially since I've battle them for 8+ years and know how horrifying they can be. You never forget your first one, either. Her hair is starting to come out. The other day she said her scalp felt like it was on...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 11/28/2007 8:40:00 AM | Feedback (1)
Mom went back to work today. It's good that she's feeling well enough to do that. I got to see her for the first time since she started Chemo (used the Quick Cam & Instant Messenger). She used to have shoulder length hair, but in preparation for the chemo treatments she cut it real shot. And I'll be damned if it wasn't absolutely beautiful. That look is definitely my mom. A little 'older' style to be sure, but it just fit her. It's just sad that it stands a good chance of just dropping...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 11/19/2007 12:17:09 PM | Feedback (0)
Mom had a fever last night which isn't a good thing when undergoing chemo, so she's off to the hospital now to see what's going on. I'll be on pins and needles for the next few hours while I wait for further news. The chemo started kicking in a few days ago and she's not been able to move much. She had some pretty severe back pain and hasn't been able to keep food down well. While it's expected, it's still not an easy thing for her to deal with. She wanted to go back to work this week, but...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 11/13/2007 9:07:43 AM | Feedback (2)
Talked to Mom last night. Last week she went in for a full body scan and got some good news (finally) that there didn't appear to be any detectable cancer. However, because the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes, she starts chemotherapy next week; something she's definitely not looking forwards to. It's especially rough since she lives alone. Part of me wants to take some more time off, but she didn't seem receptive to the idea. The other problem is that she needs to work to keep her...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 10/31/2007 8:00:20 AM | Feedback (7)
Alas, there's been nothing but bad news for Mom. Her second surgery was more painful than the first, and they found more cancer in her lymph nodes. Out of the 9 they pulled out (originally we thought they pulled 15, but there was a miscommunication somewhere), one of them was positive. Unfortunately, that's all we know. We don't have percentages, rates, possibilities, or anything. Just that one lymph node contained cancer. An appointment has been set up with both the surgeon and an oncologist...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 10/19/2007 2:32:32 PM | Feedback (5)
Mom's been doing wonderful as far as getting around. Her and my aunt when out today for a while just to do some shopping and get out of the house. She's not needed to take any pain medication today at all which is wonderful. Unfortunately, though, the doctor called yesterday and upon further inspection, there did appear to be cancer in some of the lymph nodes. Needless to say this has depressed my mother tremendously. The doctor is still confident that they caught the cancer in time (early),...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 10/6/2007 5:42:50 PM | Feedback (4)
Let me just say that this morning has been a little... rough. I only got 4 hours of sleep last night and none of it went uninterrupted. We (my aunt, mom, & I) made it to the hospital at 6:30 this morning. They have free coffee in the waiting room, and I loaded up on a little more than is probably healthy. They took my mom around 8 o'clock to pre-op and her surgery was scheduled for 9, but we saw her surgeon come in around 9:30 which meant she wasn't in yet. She probably went in around 10...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 10/2/2007 1:46:56 PM | Feedback (14)
Mom goes in for surgery tomorrow to remove the cancer. I'm flying up to Atlanta today to provide moral support (as well as handyman services to her house). My aunt is a nurse and will be staying with us to help with bandages and the such since that's simply not something I can do. I don't like flying that much and with my mother going in for major surgery, I'm a little on the anxious side. My carry on will consist of an MP3 player, my wallet, and my keys. I'm checking my Glock, so I hope that...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 10/1/2007 8:25:21 AM | Feedback (8)
A few days ago, mom went in for an MRI to ensure the cancer hadn't spread. The initial findings were that the cancer was small, and well isolated. Lymph nodes seemed unaffected, which is good news. The bad news is that there was something that showed up on the other breast. The initial prognosis was that it was a minor blip, possibly a swollen lymph node from a cold my mother had at the time, but further testing couldn't pinpoint its composition. So now she has to have another biopsy done to...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/4/2007 1:40:17 PM | Feedback (4)
Last night, I spoke with my mother. I asked her a few questions regarding some of the information I learned about IDC and she proceeded to chew my ass out (Tanya, I think my mother read your comment). My mother, the little tiny woman, has some fight in her. She was pissed off that I was worried about her. She wants me to be happy while she's living and not sad because I choose to focus on the fact that something might kill her, especially something that is as slow as what she has. "I stand a...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 8/22/2007 1:54:13 PM | Feedback (1)
While we still don't know the extent of the problem, the one thing we do know is that my mother has Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC). Since I know very, very little about breast cancer (and cancer in general), I've been reading everything I can on the subject. IDC is the most commonly diagnosed breast cancer, in the range of 70% to 80%. You can remove the area where the cancer is (a lumpectomy) or remove the entire breast (mastectomy). I'm not sure where my mom stands on that yet, it's not a...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 8/21/2007 9:18:49 AM | Feedback (7)
I got the phone call today, shortly after lunch. It was one of those phone calls you dread receiving although you never expected it in the first place. My mother called me to tell me she's been diagnosed with breast cancer. Numb doesn't even begin to describe how I felt. Numb and sick. My mother lives nearly 500 miles away from me. There's little I can do anyway, but it's disheartening to know I couldn't even console her with a hug or by holding her hand. She seemed to be in a decent enough...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 8/16/2007 7:46:35 PM | Feedback (10)

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