Today is my mom's Birthday;) She is 56 to be exact but doesn't look a day over 40 something. This past year has been a trying one for my mom. Eversince 2003, she had been having trouble with back, joints achin, yet she was pretty healthy. She went to her doctors and couldn't figure anything out until December 2004, one of her doctors suggested a mammogram. They discovered a small mass in her left breast, they scheduled an operation to extract it the next week. They said by January they would have the results of the test and would let her know as soon as possible.
I kept telling myself that she would be okay and that they wouldn't find anything harmful. I remember being at work on the day she was to get the results of her test. I was so nervous I didn't get the much work done. I told her whatever the outcome to give me a call on my cell phone so I would know. I can still remember it like it was yesterday. I was on the computer typing up some notes and I see my phone go off, I check and see "mom cell" flash across the caller id.
My hands are sweating and I stare at my phone for a couple of seconds. I finally pick it up and answer. I ask my mom how the dr. visit went. She tells me that she tested positive for breast cancer. As soon as those words left her mouth, I immediately started to choak up. My eyes started to tear up and my chest started to convulse. I told her I couldn't talk and had to go back to work. I immediatly hung up on her and just started to cry. All I can remember was crying so HARD but no sound would come out. I felt as though i had been punched in the gut.
One of my co-workers noticed me, and immediately gave me some tissues. She knew about the dilema with my mom and knew I was waiting on the phonecall. She gathered by response that the news wasn't good. I found my supervisor told him and asked to leave early. He understood and told me if I needed some days off that he would understand. I left that day and called my best friends to let them know. One of my best friends Kamina, understood what I was going thru because her older sister had breast cancer 3 years prior. I left work and went to the park and just laid out on the grass. I looked up at the sky and just stared off. I must have been there for hours.
i don't remember the details for the rest of the day except going home and just seeing my mom. She was sleeping in her bed and I just watched her. I started to cry again and I went to my room. My friends were calling me but I wouldn't pick up the phone. I just got under the covers and tried to shut out the rest of the world.
Later on that evening I spoke with my mom and she told me about what she would have to go thru. She would have to go thru chemotherapy followed by radiation. She told me the chemo would possibly make her lose her hair. As well as make her feel ill for sometime. So she took the year off to dedicate herself to beating this cancer. She started the chemo in January. She still went to the hair salon as usual to get her hair done. Yet within a couple of weeks of the chemo she was definitely starting to feel the affects. She would become so weak she would not be able to take showers, instead she had to take baths. By this time it was March and I was used to taking off a couple of days, because I wasn't feeling comfortable leaving her home alone.
I remember one day coming home and my mom called me to her bathroom. She was wearing her satin night cap. The night before she had rolled her hair and the next morning she told me, when she was trying to take her rollers out.......her hair was coming out as well. My eyes started to water up but I didn't cry. She gave me some barber scissors and told me she wanted me to cut the rest off. I took her cap off and saw the damage for the first time this chemo had done to my mother. Where there used to be a thick head of beautiful burgandy hair, I now saw only patches of hair. Taking my hands I ran them across her head trying to determine the best place to start.
So I began in the back, and started my way up to the front. I had her hairline pretty low. I asked her if she wanted to see it, she just shook her head no. She didn't say "no", she just shook her head. So I put her satin cap back on her head and helped her to bed. I went to my room, sat on my bed and began to cry. I took my comb and started to comb thru my hair. I realized how insignificant some things are. For a while I've always wanted to grow my hair longer yet it didn't really mean a damn thing compared to what my mom was going thru in the next room.
Sometimes I wish I could take my mom's pain away, even trading places with her myself. She's always been superwoman to me and I always wonder in the back of my mind what would have happened if this hadn't been caught in time or even worse, what happened if she didn't beat it. All these thoughts and more always ran thru my mind 24/7. She is such a strong woman and I sometimes wonder what is wrong with me;(
At one time I almost lost my job because I was taking off so many days just to take care of her. By this time I had changed positions in the company and was under a new supervisor. He understood my situation and was kind enough to give me a heads up so i wouldn't be jepordizing my job. So I would just call my mom at least 3 times a day to make sure she was okay. She stayed at home majority of the day because she was too weak.
She endured the chemo for most of the year. Then she went into radiation mode. She was all done with everything by October or November. She was determined to go back to work. My dad and the rest of us TRIED to convince to just retire, but she said she would be damned if they only gave her part of her pention, she wanted ever last DIME!!. The only after effects is still the lingering numbness she has in her hands and feet from time to time. She can't wear her high heel shoes like she used to. I learned how to walk in mine from her. she is definitely the master at that;)
Overall, I want to say that my mom is a strong woman and she has handled herself and this situation that would make anyone, especially me proud. With determiniation and her head up.
I also wanted to inform everyone especially the women, when my mom was diagnosed, her dr at the time suggested that maybe the patches she was on for menopause might have contributed strongly to her get breast cancer. Ladies, be very aware of what is going on with your bodies. I have just started to turn my life around personally by getting back in shape. I also know in the future that when menopause DOES come around for me. I will look for alternative ways to combat the symptoms. Some studies have shown especially last year that the menopause patches did cause side effects ESPECIALLY breast cancer and my mom was on them for at least 2 years. Overall watch what you put in your body, as well as you put ON.
Happy Birthday momma, i love you;)