Wednesday, April 10, 2013

My Mom Has Cancer

My mom got a bit of surprising news yesterday: she has cancer.

She had been having stomach issues for a while (which may have actually started with h. pylori but still waiting the results on that test; more info on potential connection here), but had been seeing her doctor and was actively working at figuring out what was going on, rather than other people I have heard of around her age who waited and waited, which just led to further problems. She has to have it all confirmed with an oncologist, but the gastro specialist she was seeing is pretty sure it's not a carcinoma but a lymphoma, so that's very good news. The specialist doesn't seem too concerned; he actually said it was good that it wasn't just the narrowing they thought it was because she shouldn't need surgery, just chemo. And it hasn't spread anywhere, it's just at the top of her small intestine.

My mom was a bit of a mix of emotions with it yesterday. The C-word always raises fears, doesn't it? Even though most cases we've known have recovered. Her mother had cancer on her tongue and was treated and it never came back. Her father had colon cancer and while he spent the last years of his life without a colon, it was not cancer that got him. (No, he fell, broke his hip and never seemed to recover properly from the anesthetic!) Her sister-in-law is a breast cancer survivor. We have lots of examples of people who had cancer and beat it.

Unfortunately, there is a very personal case of someone with cancer who had chemo and didn't make it: my little sister.

She was only 2 when they discovered the leukemia. She was barely 3 when she passed away. It may have been a long time ago (33 years!), but I know this is still very much in my mom's heart and knowing she now has to have chemo raises fears. She is, fortunately, trying to have some fun with it and playfully laments she's spent the past few years trying to grow her hair to have the right biker hair and what will she do? :)

She's doing much better with this today and just feeling very positive. I do believe she'll beat this. The gastro doctor doesn't seem too concerned; if she doesn't need surgery, it's not very big and much more treatable. I'm actually feeling very calm about this all, which could be denial or shock rather than faith and hope, but I guess we'll see in time. Right now, she has about a 3-week wait until she sees the oncologist (another sign it's not seen as hugely urgent), so there's not much to do except wait. And learn.

The one thing on my mind is what can I do to help prevent cancer in me and my husband and kids? I know telling my mom about going vegan or raw or anything like that won't have her changing her diet at this point. And I know research is very contradictory when it comes to food, but I just know that my gut (no pun intended ;) ) has been telling me to go in a certain direction for some time and this is a reminder how important it really is. I plan on living until over 100; I've got to make sure I take the steps to do so. :D

In any case, over the next while, expect to see things here about cancer-free living!


  1. Sorry to hear the news about your mom. Thank goodness it is treatable. I'll keep her in my prayers.

    1. Thank you, Shannon! She's on her 2nd round of chemo, has lost a bunch of her hair so decided to just shave it all, but doing very well.