But saying it that way ... BREAST CANCER ... sounds all dramatic and somber and theatrical, and really .... it's not. It was caught extremely early. With a proper treatment plan the survival rate is something like 99.8%, and truthfully, none of us are too freaked out about it.
In fact, my mom is more annoyed than anything because we are leaving on our cruise in a few weeks and she's already informed her doctor that "she doesn't have time for this crap, thank you very much, so just do what you need to do and let's get it over with."
My sister and I have been her support people the past month or so during her visits with surgeons, radiologists, and oncologists. We've sat with her for ultrasounds and cat scans and MRIs and needle biopsies. I now know way more than I ever planned with regard to lumpectomies vs mastectomies, stages, grades, balloon radiation vs beam radiation, estrogen receptor positive vs negative ... et. al. I also know more than I ever intended about sinus cancer and pediatric leukemia, which is really starting to give me a complex because what is the common denominator here???? ME. I'm beginning to think I am this family's lucky fucking charm, is all, and being related to me is perhaps not such a good thing for the other members in this family.
But this isn't about me. It's about my mother and how she's doing.
She's doing fine, thank you for asking.
She had her surgery yesterday and things went smoothly. Except for the fact she is
Naturally, *I* am the one who wound up rubbing her back while she puked and spending the night with her while she continued puking and then rinsing out the disposable vomit bag because even though the nurses gave her several bags, they were really cool disposable vomit bags and once we were back at her house and she was down to her last one she was all, "you should rinse this out in case I need it again" and I was all "that's ok mom I can just get you a bowl" and she was all "no, no, because this way is easy and not as gross, you should just rinse it out" and I thought to myself "yeah it's not as gross to you because you're not the one rinsing it out in the sink."
It was gross.
Kidding, mom. I love you and it wasn't that gross!
(Ok, it totally was, but I don't to make her feel bad about it.)
I am also the one charged with changing her dressing every day until radiation starts and while we've never been an exceptionally shy and private family, I have also never seen my mother's breasts as many times in my LIFE as I have the past two days.
But that's ok, too. I figure as many diaper changes as she gave me when I was born it's probably only fair I help her out now and not protest the nudity.
Sorry. I got sidetracked there .... still giggling at my sister practically knocking a nurse over trying to get out of the room when my mom was throwing up. Considering she has four boys under the age of 13, you'd think she'd be a little stronger-stomached when it comes to bodily fluids like blood or barf, but no.
Of course, she got her chance to laugh at me when I carried a borrowed chair into the empty recovery room next to my mom's, only to discover it wasn't empty and I basically walked in on a fat naked man eating a popsicle.
Sorry about that, sir.
So anyway, what's my point?
My mom is doing well. She didn't want me to tell anyone about her diagnosis because she didn't want any attention. She only let me tell about it now because the surgery is over, and enough of her close friends know about it that she no longer feels it's a secret.
And the REASON I choose to tell you is twofold:
1) To thank you in advance for keeping Grandma Betty in your thoughts during her upcoming radiation, and
2) Typical PSA disclaimer like I always throw in: Please remember to get your annual mammogram. You. Just. Never. Know.