We’re a Cancer Family Now

Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

My mom has been diagnosed with breast cancer. She starts chemotherapy tomorrow.

I don’t have a great way to introduce this topic to my blog, but I think that now is the time to do it.  I think I need to talk about it.  Plus and I want to document this journey.

Ironic, since I don’t even like typing the phrase “my mom’s cancer.” It feels so foreign. It’s like it must be someone else’s story.  Unreal.  But it’s not.  It’s right here, with us every second. We are a “cancer family” now, as uncomfortable as that is.

My mom’s cancer is stage 2, with a grade of 3.  She has been told that it is an “aggressive” cancer, so her medical team is starting treatment right away.  She will have a port installed in early May.

The news came as a shock.  I think we are a pretty healthy family.  My mother is an active woman in her early 60’s, with a fantastic history of fitness and perseverance.  (She actually became more athletic after 50.) She’s an internationally-ranked powerlifter with more gym buddies than I have by far.

Now that one of us is actually sick, and it feels as though all of our lives have stopped. 

I have noticed that if you get cancer, everyone has suggestions for supplements, foods, books and special potions to try. We are all guilty of this.  I suppose we are searching for every weapon we’ve got. My sister suggested the CBD oil.  I suggested getting into a meditation practice and that she try juicing again. (Ha!  She’s none-too-interested in drinking green stuff!)  My Dad advocates her taking more time to relax and sleep. One of her close friends is insisting she eat 2 cups of blueberries a day. 

Basically, we’re all going to drive her nuts by checking in on her constantly.  It’s well-meaning, but I am sure it is challenging to make sense of it all.  (For instance, I found one book on cancer that recommends against fasting, and another that says that patients who are undergoing chemo should try to fast.)

Although it is up to my mom to choose what she will and won’t incorporate into her life, the good vibes and the well-wishes do matter.  Everyone rallying around her matters. Talking to people who have had cancer and conquered it…all of it matters.  It matters to us, but most of all, it matters to my mom.  (We have already had so many people reach out to us. I know my whole family is grateful!)

As of right now, my mother is not “sick.”  For now, the treatments are still in the future.  During the past few days, my mom could be found pumping iron at the gym, home with her dogs and my dad, or cruising around in her fuschia-pink Challenger. (No joke.)

She’s planning to shave her head and get ahead of the hair loss.  (She’s been told that with the medication they’re putting her on, it’s all but guaranteed.)  The head-shaving is going ahead on Saturday.  I’m not worried about how it will look.  Personally, I think women with shaved heads can look totally badass, and that this is a chance to experiment with her style.  I also know, however, that this look is fully outside of my mom’s comfort zone.

But you know what? At least she can rest assured that she will never be going through this alone.

I’ll try to be back to post updates on a regular basis.  

Much love,