Scripture for Meditation:
“Do not be afraid, for I am with you” (Isaiah 43:5 NLT).
Prayer of Faith:
Dear God, please be with my mom as she is going through this trial. Comfort her and encourage her soul. Help her not to be afraid, and let her know that you are with her. Please be with me and my family as we walk beside her during this time. Give us strength to endure this phase of life. May your glory be seen even in these dark times.
From the working manuscript of Not Alone: Prayers for Daughters of Moms with Stage 4 Cancer
Today is Wednesday, 1/23/2019. Yesterday afternoon I received some news about my mom. My mom had a PET scan done yesterday, and she was called within the hour. It showed that the same cancer cells (from her third time with breast cancer in 2016) have traveled to her spine and liver. There is a large mass on her spine between L3 and L4 (which is more than likely the true source of her severe back pain and limited mobility that started in August and has gotten worse through December—initially my mom thought she just injured her back by twisting the wrong way, and an Xray from a few months ago shows a twisted spine, thought to be pressing on a nerve. I don’t know if these are still independent but coinciding problems or if the mass on her spine contributed to her back injury).
Today, my mom has an appointment with radiologist-oncologist (11 a.m.). Friday is her liver biopsy (which was originally going to be a bone biopsy on her back since her MRI from 12/28/18 showed “something suspicious,” which is why the PET scan was done). And then next Wednesday my mom meets with her chemotherapy doctor to look at all the results and discuss suggested therapies (I don’t know what that means). My mom already had aggressive chemotherapy done in 2016. And she had radiation done all three times before with breast cancer.
With the first time (around 1991 when I was 10), she had radiation and a mastectomy done and her lymph nodes removed from her left side. She caught the lump from a self-exam, and it was the slow-growing kind. The mastectomy and removal of the lymph nodes was a preventative action my mom wanted to have done.
With the second time in 2013, she had radiation and surgery (on the left side again). She took the cancer gene test and found that it was not the genetic kind of cancer. So that is good news for me.
And with the third time in 2016, she had chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery (in the center of her chest).
My dad is saying that my mom isn’t interested in radiation or chemo again (and I don’t know to what extent she can have either one done again).
I was able to talk to my mom last night, and she said that she is not going to give up, but I don’t know what that means if she’s not willing to do what needs to be done, whatever the prognosis ends up being.
As for me, I am experiencing an elevated resting heartrate (beats per minute), which I can know thanks to a new Fitbit I started wearing last weekend. Looks like it’s going to come in handy because the first thing that goes for me is the eating. When I am overcome like this with family-of-origin stuff, I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, and I can’t do what needs to be done during the day to function well. I’m not going to run away and hide and avoid the tornado that inevitably hits when stuff like this happens. I’m going to plant my feet right here. I’m going to keep living my life. I’m going to focus on taking good care of my children and my husband and my home and myself. I’m going to lean on the Rock that is higher than I (“From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock thatis higher than I” (Psalm 61:2 KJV). I’m going to need to keep myself well-fed, well-rested, and well-taken-care-of as I withstand the pressure of this new leg of life’s journey. I can already tell that I have to deliberately breathe away the anxiety that I can feel creeping up in my shoulders and neck and throat. So I’m going to keep breathing (cue Ariana Grande’s “breathin”). And I’m going to get through this. I will do what I can to stay strong and stay grounded. I have no idea what things are going to look like now. All I can do is take it one moment at a time, remembering to breathe deeply as each wave of anxiety comes and remembering to let the sadness flow out (crying is a great release).
Until the next update, carpe diem.