Tuesday, September 10, 2013

In Which I Ask For Your Support

The old axiom is true: You really never do know how you'll respond to shocking news. For example, when my father called me on Sunday to tell me that my mother has breast cancer, I was oddly calm. It helped that my father was stoic (he always is). In truth, I'm the kind of person who freaks about every meaningless thing and keeps it all together while the house is falling down.

This is in no way to imply the house is falling down. It's much easier to be calm when one has been assured that prospects for full recovery are very good. My mother is exceedingly fortunate that she found the tumor where and when she did, and that she has access to excellent medical care. She is young (65), healthy (other than this glitch, soon to be remedied) and highly knowledgeable about Western and alternative medicine. She is optimistic and exceedingly clean-living. Seriously - the woman is a juice-aholic vegan (the kind who gets adequate protein), doesn't drink, has never smoked and counts meditation amongst her vices. She's like the anti-Kristin.

As luck would have it, for her (not the cancer), she is the most willful person (other than my child) that I've ever come across. Cancer should quake in its boots. My mother is fucking scary.

I'm sharing this information (with my mother's blessing, of course) for a few reasons, not least of which is to remind you to check your breasts, like, every three minutes, for any suspicious behaviour. I, for one, have a mammogram and breast ultrasound booked on Friday morning. This is by no means my first mammogram (my maternal aunt also had breast cancer and is living a wonderful life more than 25 years later), but it is my first breast ultrasound. My mother's cancer is located in a spot (near the sternum) that was NOT traceable by mammogram. Ultrasound, however, caught the tumor immediately.

I'm also sharing the information to ask you all - my community through thick and thin - to keep my mother in your thoughts and prayers over the next couple of months of treatment - and particularly this Thursday when she's having surgery. Please, please, please sign our metaphoric petition to the universe to restore health and balance at the earliest opportunity.

I'm sure my mum would be thrilled to hear positive stories of recovery from cancer - yours or a loved one's - and any lessons learned (practical, metaphysical, psycho-emotional - I'll let you decide). I, and my sister, would be so grateful for any positive stories and practical tips for daughters.

We are resolved to approach this challenge with optimism, partly because it's indicated and partly because my mother is strongly of the perspective that optimism is a choice. Please join us in this action. xoxo

88 comments:

  1. "Optimism is a choice" - You helped me decide that this week! I certainly believe that it's a choice for your mom. It sounds like there are lots of reasons to be hopeful! I'll certainly be thinking of you all, and waiting for updates as they come!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much G! And for your email...

      Delete
  2. Your mom sounds simply amazing! Best wishes to her. I'm in Toronto; have been reading your blog for a while now. Is she getting treatment at Princess Margaret? If so, do not hesitate to lean on the psycho-social nurses there. A friend went through chemo treatment at PM and said the nurses are actually nurse practitioners and they are fantastic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She's actually in the States, though I've heard so much about how amazing Princess Margaret is. Thanks for your comment!

      Delete
  3. Sorry to hear about your mom's cancer. Big hugs to Kristin and family... Sending my prayers, well wishes and healing thoughts for your mom.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm sending positive thoughts to you and your entire family.

    Cancer's a bitch but your mother sounds strong.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My mum is very strong! Thanks so much Debbie!

      Delete
  5. So sorry to hear about your mum. After 13 years of living with early stage BC, I can tell you what you know already: the majority of women with BC get through treatment and get back to living - it's not the most lethal cancer by a long way. It kills of lot of people because a lot of us get it in the first place. Nothing's certain in life - but your mum is very likely to be OK.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know the likelihood of full recovery is very high and I'm focusing on that, as I know she is. I'm giving you my positive thoughts too Anon. Be well!

      Delete
  6. My mom found hers at age 78--and she was not in the best of health even then. It's almost 5 years later and she's going strong. Wishing your mom the same great outcome.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So happy to hear that your mother is well! I'm optimistic for my mum but all of your good thoughts will totally help!

      Delete
  7. I'm praying for her complete recovery.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Kris! I'm so sorry! It's especially scary when parents are ill -- best wishes for a speedy treatment and recovery! Great tip about the ultrasound -- I'll look into it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know! Definitely look into ultrasound, especially if you notice something odd in a tricky spot.

      Delete
  9. Thinking good thoughts for your mother and you.

    ReplyDelete
  10. You, your mom, and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers this week. Stay strong, stay positive. I went through my own little lump scare last year (thankfully benign) so I've had a teeny tiny glimpse into the feelings that come up in this sort of situation. And, it was amazing the number of stories I heard from others that had had a lump or full on breast cancer - all of which were positive, considering. It's always worth being optimistic. Your mom sounds pretty awesome, by the way!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I seem to recall that you wrote about your experience, yes? At any rate, so glad to hear that your scare was just a scare! Thank you for thinking of my mum. xoxo

      Delete
  11. I'm so sorry to hear this Kristin, but from what you say, your wonderful sounding mum will be punching cancer in the face right from the off. Two of my friends have had breast cancer, and both are doing well after surgery and treatment. I'm wishing the same successful outcome for your mum. Thinking of you and your family and sending lots of love. xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jane - I love your way with words! So happy to hear that your friends are both well.

      Delete
  12. three years ago last week I had my first surgery. A Breast Cancer diagnosis messes with your sense of control of your life - I've done everything right, how could I get breast cancer - and it messes with your sense of mortality - even women diagnosed with early stage cancer with a very good prognosis are all of a sudden contemplating those mortality statistics in a very different light. So my first suggestion is to remain positive and upbeat for your mom. Acknowledge all the chaos that has entered her life, but don't dwell on all negative possibilities.

    My second suggestion is to not take leave of your common sense when you consult Dr. Google. There is lots of good and helpful information out there, but there is also lots of crap. Always evaluate how reliable the source is that you are reading. There are lots of online communities and bloggers about breast cancer. Again, some of them offer good information and helpful advise, and some are full of hysteria. This will be a very stress filled time for your mom and your family - don't let others make you crazy.

    One day at a time you will all get through this. My prayers for good surgery and a good pathology report for your mom.

    Lois K

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lois: Did I know about this? I hope that you are fully recovered now.

      Your advice is very wise! It's hard for me to stay away from the internet but sometimes a little information is a dangerous thing.

      We really appreciate your prayers. xo

      Delete
  13. Will be thinking of you all. She sounds like an amazing lady

    ReplyDelete
  14. I wish for your mother's speedy recovery.
    I've been reading a blog by a vegan woman who's documenting her breast cancer journey.

    Blog: http://www.blog.govegan.net/sarahs-blog-2-2/
    The first entry was in March: http://www.blog.govegan.net/bad-news/

    This might be helpful? Maybe?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, thank you for this info! We'll be sure to check it out.

      Delete
  15. I'm sorry to hear this, Kristin. My sister-in-law has recently battled breast cancer (successfully). The toll on one's emotions is high, but it sounds like your mother is an exceptionally stable person, as well as having a supportive loving family. I will keep her, and you, in my prayers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So happy to hear that your SIL is well, Uta. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. xo

      Delete
  16. I'm sorry to hear this, Kristin. My sister-in-law has recently battled breast cancer (successfully). The toll on one's emotions is high, but it sounds like your mother is an exceptionally stable person, as well as having a supportive loving family. I will keep her, and you, in my prayers.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Saddened to read this K, even more saddened to know cancer is affecting so many near & dear. The good news is that it will be beaten & she will come through stronger than before, you all will. xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, please don't be sad! Just be happy for early detection :-) The rest we can muddle through. Thank you so much for your positive thoughts. K

      Delete
  18. Positive thoughts and warm wishes to all of you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Karen: Thank you so much - and nice to see you again!

      Delete
  19. This December will mark the 4-year anniversary of the discovery of my Stage 1 ER+ breast cancer. I will keep your mom in my thoughts and prayers. I blogged my way through it. It was very therapeutic. Maybe this one post will help her (and you) out a little bit: http://gorgeousfabrics.com/blog/2010/04/15/cancer-chemo-and-what-i-wore-part-4/

    The other thing to keep in mind is that, hard as this is on your mom (and it will be brutal, no matter what), in some ways it's harder on the folks around her. That may sound counterintuitive, but as the patient, she's the one who makes all the decisions. She can feel like she has some control over the proceedings. Those around her can only offer support, and it feels kind of helpless at times. My husband definitely felt that way, and I've heard the same thing from the spouses and families of friends who went through it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ann: I think I knew this - but conveniently forgot. What awesome info. We will most certainly check out your post. Thank you SO much.

      You raise a valid point about it being hard for the people on the sidelines - because we don't make the decisions. Very good point. xo

      Delete
  20. Sending positive thoughts to you and your Mom, Kristin -- hang in there!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Your mom sounds like a survivor--cancer is tough, but it can be beaten, and I'm sure given what you've said above that she can and will do it. I'll send my thoughts and prayers her way anyway though, it can't hurt!

    And yes to checking, getting sonograms, mammograms, whatever--NO MATTER YOUR AGE!! I'm 29 and found a lump on the side of my breast 3 months ago; I did the sonogram and while they say it's only a strange side effect of pregnancy, I'm still supposed to keep an eye on it in case it gets bigger. In younger women, cancer is significantly more aggressive, but we think we're immune to it for some reason. So no matter your age, check!! /PSA

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I'm confident that your thoughts and prayers will only help! Thanks for sharing your story too, Becca. It's important to hear stories from a wide variety of women of a wide variety of ages.

      Delete
  22. What scary news. You are absolutely right, optimism is a choice and it sounds like she's got a lot of things going in her favour, including a good support network like yourself. I will be thinking of your mom and you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can't say it's the least scary news I've ever got, but the prognosis is extremely good. Thanks for thinking of us C. I've been thinking about you too.

      Delete
  23. My best thoughts are with you and your mom.

    ReplyDelete
  24. What an awesome mom you have; she sounds like she's going to make short work of this cancer! My aunt also had breast cancer a few years ago and she beat that B**** into submission aka remission.

    You - your mother - and family have my thoughts & prayers at your disposal. Wishing you all the best love and support.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Liz - so glad to hear about your aunt! And thank you for your love and support. Hope the bunnies are enjoying their time together...

      Delete
  25. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Your mom sounds like a badass and the cancer should definitely be terrified of her! I am sending positive thoughts and well wishes to both her and your entire family. Petition signed! ♥

    ReplyDelete
  27. I'm so sorry to hear this, Kristin. But glad to know that you and your family are approaching the matter in the most positive way possible. I'll be keeping you all in my thoughts :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Gail. We are nothing if not positive!

      Delete
  28. Oh, I'm sending my best wishes your way, and hoping for a speedy recovery for your mum :-)

    I learned a few things when my mum had cancer (but they may or may not be useful to you):
    * If somebody offers practical help, take it. Even if you feel it's unnecessary or you don't need/deserve it, it will help you to conserve your energy for more important things.
    * Feel free to be rude to people who are rude to you. I got tired of people telling me what we/mum "should" be doing/thinking/feeling. So I would tell them to shut it.
    * Do what you've gotta do. If it helps you to have a cry on the side of the road when driving to work, do it. If you want to eat nothing but cake for a day, do it. The little things will save your sanity.

    Anyway, I really do hope things go as well as they can! Let us all know what we can do to help :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kat: These are excellent pieces of advice! I'm kind of partial to the eating cake idea, right at this point. xo

      Delete
  29. She sounds like a wonderful woman. I'll keep all of you in my thoughts.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Kristin! Veronica here. I'm sending many well wishes and thinking many positive thoughts. Your mum sounds amazing and ready to fight. Even the most dire situation can have a surprising turnaround. In my case, my mum was given two months to live in '92(not breast cancer, but cancer nonetheless) and proved those doctors wrong, wrong, wrong.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Veronica: I am so happy for you that those doctors were wrong! And my mum's attitude is one of graceful fortitude - which is the best way to go, I think! Thank you for your comment.

      Delete
  31. OMG. My mom got diagnosed last Friday and will begin chemo next week. I'll be sending positive thoughts to yours too...

    ReplyDelete
  32. L: Let's just say I can understand how you're feeling (unfortunately for us both). I'm sending lots of positive vibes for your mum. Keep me posted.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Sending positive thoughts to your family. I work in a hospital with cancer patients and believe me when i tell you over the years I've seen some pretty amazing people beat some scary Ca.. Stay strong!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for this perspective Branca! There is much to be hopeful for.

      Delete
  34. Lovely Kristin, you and your family are in my thoughts. I wish for a speedy and complete recovery for your Mama, and as much strength as you need to all of you who will be supporting her. I wish my wishes were magic ones. X

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment. I'm sure your wishes are magic!

      Delete
  35. One of my dearest bloggy friends (and real life friend) went through breast cancer diagnosis,treatment,is in recovery starting about 4 years ago, and her blog has amazing resources on lots of stuff. Feel free to check it out at http://kitchenblogic.com/, all her links are left of her entries. Great person, great writer, and I think you'll enjoy her tone and humor. XO

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Laura: What terrific info. Thank you so much!

      Delete
  36. I am sending you and your family loads and loads of love from MN, K. Wish I could hug you, and thinking of your mom especially today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love from MN is just the thing, Sally! Thank you so much! xoxo

      Delete
  37. Kristin,
    I can't believe you have taken the time to respond to all these comments. Both you and your mom are amazing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But of course! These comments are like gold! xo

      Delete
  38. I'm scrolling down reading all the words of support and I can't see mine here. I know I commented and what an awful time for Blogger to gobble. Please know that I am thinking of you and your family and wishing you all the strength and love and support that you can muster. If your Mom is part of where your own strength and wisdom come from, she is formidable and wonderful -- may she be a magnet to pull in all the healing she needs and deserves. Much love!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well I'm so happy to see this comment, F. Thank you so much for these lovely words. xo

      Delete
  39. Eep, blogger just ate my comment (I think)...

    I'm so sorry to hear this, but so glad to hear that the prognosis is good and everyone's feeling positive. I've been down this road as a daughter and I know it can be tough. All my love.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Katy: Thank you so much for your comment. I know you have far too much experience on this account. xoxo

      Delete
  40. Oh no! This is what happens when I get a few days behind on blog reading! Well, at least this way I got to read all of the supportive comments.

    It sounds like your Mom is a dynamo and has excellent prospects for recovery. There are many positive breast cancer recovery stories I've been privy to over the years. I've seen very successful outcomes even when the prospects weren't all that great at the start.

    I'm sending love and warm hugs and will definitely keep your Mom in my thoughts and prayers, especially on Thursday. xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  41. Wishing your mom a speedy remission!!! My maternal grandmother had breast cancer in her 50s. Today, 30 years later, she is still trucking along. A little more slowly these days :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've heard so many of these optimistic stories lately and I never tire of them! Thanks for sharing Kay.

      Delete
  42. Sending you healing rays and e-hugs, apply liberally through warm embraces.

    ReplyDelete
  43. So sorry to hear this. My MIL just came out of a year of the-whole-nine-yards for ovarian cancer. It is insane how well she is doing now. It really brings healing love out of every corner and hope your family experiences that in this time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so thrilled to hear that your MIL is recovering so well. It does bring love out of every corner! Thank you xo

      Delete