This is a way we are going to keep you all updated on our Mom's journey with breast cancer.
In March, Mom had her annual mammogram and the tests came back clear. Then this July, she noticed a small lump (the size of a pea) on her side underneath her armpit. She wasn’t sure what it was and thought she might have pulled something. She already had her annual physical scheduled for the end of August – She figured she would show the doctor what she found at that time.
At her appointment in August, she showed her doctor what she had and the doctor didn’t seem concerned about it – but thankfully the doctor decided to schedule an appointment with a breast specialist to verify there was nothing there. It took 5 weeks to get in – but on October 2nd they met and she sent mom to get a biopsy the next day.
HOW DID THEY END UP IN TEXAS?
Since her birthday is on October 4th – Mom and Dad headed to Texas to spend a weekend away with me (Jill) where we live in Beaumont, TX. We got the results on Friday, Oct 6th – the dreaded phrase – “YOU HAVE CANCER.”
Once all us kids knew, we tried to figure out the next steps. After some research, we found that one of the top Cancer Centers in the country was only an hour away. After switching some flights and making some calls – we were able to get on the schedule for the following Thursday (Oct 12th).
At our first appointment, we learned more about cancer than we could have ever imagined. The biggest learning for us was there is no clear path or process this follows. Every test – every meeting seems to change the course of what you thought the plan was. The good news was the diagnosis was Stage 1.
The doctor ordered a few more tests for Friday (Oct 13th) and by lunch on Friday, we got the news we didn’t want…the cancer has been found in some nearby lymph nodes – this means Chemo – the one thing she wanted to avoid at all costs. It also meant the diagnosis was moved to Stage 2.
Just as she was coming to grips with having Chemo…another call…the tests showed cancer in multiple lymph nodes as well as some concerning things around her collarbone. This all felt like too much to handle. She went from stressing about Chemo to thinking about just surviving. The doctor ordered a couple more tests to scan her entire body to get a full prognosis on how widespread the cancer is. Along with this – the doctor confirmed the tumor on her side was 3-3.8cm – much larger than the original scan indicating a tumor of 1.3-1.8cm. After these new results, the doctors moved mom to Stage 3.
We called our family back home to share the news late Friday – it was a really tough night. The morning of Saturday brought some hope – Jeff, Ash (and Lily) and Scott had booked flights and were coming so they could be with us at her appointments and meetings with her doctors. They arrived on Sunday and we had a great time together eating and playing games -- a nice distraction from the past week. While this has been a whirlwind for my mom, you can’t forget what it feels like for a spouse to go through this as well. Having my brothers here has been a night and day difference for my Dad. I think he actually smiled last night 😊. This wouldn’t have been possible if friends and family back home didn’t step in and fill all the needs there. So thank you, guys!
We are hoping to get a more definitive answer and plan at our meeting tomorrow afternoon (Tuesday, Oct 17th).
ARE THEY EVER COMING HOME?
Their plan is to fly home on Wednesday and have all tests, procedures and treatment done in Chicago. We have all really felt being so close to MD Anderson was a blessing and wanted to utilize their facilities and knowledge as much as we could. The timing of her being in Texas, finding out her diagnosis, being able to get into MD Anderson that next week and how thorough they have been with all their testing has been amazing. I mean why else would God move me to Beaumont, Texas. Juuuuust kidding, kind of.
We’ll continue to keep this page updated with the latest information.
One of mom’s favorite verses has always been Jeremiah 29:11 which says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” And she’s resting in that truth, like never before, as we are faced with so many unknowns.
HOW CAN YOU PRAY FOR US?
Here’s some ways you can be praying for Mom and for us:
· Tests results coming tomorrow – pleading with God for a good report
· Wisdom for the doctors as they review the tests and create a treatment plan
· For strength and endurance to face whatever lies ahead
· For our faith to remain steadfast whatever may come
Please know that we have received your messages (even though we can’t always respond at the time) -- they have been a great source of encouragement for all of us.