Tag Archives: cancer

Why I Wear Pink

There is a reason why I wear pink in October…

“It’s cancer, but I’m going to be okay”, she said as she moved around the kitchen making dinner.  My brother and I stood there speechless.  In typical fashion, my brother went on about his business of the night, while I, being the emotional basket case I am, immediately burst into tears.  My mom came over, wiped my tears, hugged me tight, and like a true mom does; comforted her daughter when in fact she was probably the one in that moment, who needed comforting.

My mom was 46 years old when she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.  The original course of treatment was for her to have a lumpectomy followed by radiation treatments.  After the lumpectomy, the doctors realized that the margin zones were too wide of an area so plans then had to change.  My mom then had to undergo a mastectomy and opted to have tram flap reconstructive surgery, where they took tissue from her abdomen to reconstruct her breast.

During her surgeries, treatments, and hospital stays, my mom was the epitome of strength.  I don’t recall ever seeing her cry, complain, or ask anyone for anything.  Throughout it all, she continued being…well, our mom.  The questions kept coming.  How were my classes going in college?  How were things going with my new boyfriend?  Was my brother doing his homework or going to his job?  Had someone, anyone, washed the towels or done a dish?  In true mom fashion, she was still more concerned about us than herself.  Friends and family came to visit and she would ask about their days or their lives; never focusing on the fact that she was sick.

Some people get a diagnosis like breast cancer, accept that they are sick, mope, or get angry at the world.   Not my mom.  She worked hard and did what she had to in order to become strong and healthy.  She researched natural healing, dietary changes, and exercised even more regularly.

I don’t know where she drew her strength from. Maybe from watching her own mother, my grandmother, be diagnosed and beat the same disease just a few years before.  Wherever it came from, she was an inspiration.

My mom has been blessed enough to have remained cancer free for 13 years now.  After her diagnosis, she became an active volunteer in the breast cancer community, and has spent even more time working with these organizations since she retired a few years ago.  She works with the American Cancer Society working at events like Bark for Life or the Making Strides for Breast Cancer Walk.  She donates her time to work with two local cancer organizations in our area, Hope Club and CRAAB; whether its performing administrative work, helping a cancer patient choose and get fitted for a wig, or just sitting with someone while they receive chemotherapy to provide comfort and moral support.

Almost four years ago, the cancer returned and yet again she fought like a warrior to beat this nasty disease and triumphed. My mom accepted her diagnosis both times and fought her illness with grace, dignity, positivity, strength, and determination.  During it all she continued babysitting her two small grandchildren and helping me, her single mother daughter, deal with my own breast cancer scare. Knee replacement and a broken femur followed later that year and again, not once did she complain or whine. She fought, worked hard and did whatever was necessary to get better as soon as possible all while taking care of her family and putting all of us and our needs first.

I urge everyone out there, young and old, to perform self-exams regularly and get their annual mammogram.  Know your family history and know your body.  Early detection is one of the best ways to fight this disease until we can find a cure.  Breast cancer is a terrible disease.  It doesn’t discriminate.  It can affect us all, young, old, black, white, rich, poor, etc.. It affects mothers, daughters, grandmothers, sisters, friends, etc… But it can be treated and you can fight against it.

My mom accepted her diagnosis and fought her illness with grace, dignity, positivity, strength, and determination.  She is my hero.  She is why I wear pink.  My mom didn’t just beat cancer and get better…She kicked Cancer’s butt!

-Chrissie <3

What I’m Fighting For

What I’m Fighting For…

I’ve heard the worst of the worst in my 40 years of life.

“We found a mass. Quite honestly, I’m concerned.”
“It is malignant.  You have a 10 cm tumor.  There are also 2 spots in your left lung.”
“It’s stage 4.  Our best guess is you have a 10-15% chance of living the next 5 years.”
I’ve now been battling stage 4 colon cancer for 3 years. I’ve had 27 radiation treatments, 22 chemo treatments, more surgeries in the last 3 years than most have in a lifetime. I’ve somehow had such bad Sepsis that I was within hours of death.
Twice.
There is a looming fear that I have about 2 years left. That my 8 and 5 year old children won’t have their mom by their side as they start middle school and grade school. I try not to worry about that. I try to make every day the best I can for them. I want them to remember when I taught them to ride a two wheeler. And that I practiced their spelling words with them every single morning. I want them to think of fun zoo trips and every single Muffins With Mom event at school.  I pray they will remember what I went through for them. But not so much that they remember how sick the chemo made me. I want them to know that as sick as I was, it helped me be with them even one more day.
I’m fighting.  I’m fighting every single day.  I never want my kids to think I gave up on them. On life. As hard as it is, my will to live is for them. As I gear up for another round of 12 treatments, I worry about telling them. But I hope they’re proud. I hope they see what courage and strength there is in fighting Cancer.  I hope they remember that strength and courage when I’m at my weakest. And I hope they remember the light on the other side. When I can tell them, “The chemo worked.  The cancer is gone. No more chemo for a while.”
Because while the bad has been very bad, the good has been SO much better. We appreciate everything more. They don’t know my time is limited. They just know that I do what I do in order to be able to do the fun stuff later.
And while the Cancer fight is hell, it’s sure as hell worth it in order to take one more trip to the zoo next year.
-Kate

Being Blind With Anger

I have been angry, upset, disappointed, confused and so much more the last few weeks. I haven’t blogged as of lately, and my last few blog posts have been a lot of complaining! That is generally NOT me! Days and days of just being miserable and bitchy…and then BLAM! It all happened so quickly, in 8 days to be exact, my husband’s best friend, who also happens to be his brother, went to the Emergency room with an excruciating stomachache and thought maybe he was having gallstones or something to that degree. Instead-he found out he is suffering from a very rare form of lymphoma. Although, I guess he doesn’t know this yet. It just depends on what he can hear us talking about  while he’s under sedation. We saw him Friday, sat at the hospital & visited with him a better part of the day-he was to go in Saturday morning for a quick procedure and he hasn’t been awake since. Medically induced-but holy it went downhill fast! We have received very little good news since then and most of the news we have received has been horrible. I guess what can go wrong has gone wrong. My husband has spent the last few days holding together his family(brothers, sister, sister-in-laws, nephews) and I have spent the last few days trying to hold him together, he’s exhausted and I am exhausted for him. He has lost a sister, his mother and his father all within the last 3-5 years. He is scared and he is PISSED off! He is ever so angry. It’s one of those things where I cannot love him enough to love it away. I feel helpless, he feels helpless.

We’ve had this discussion quite a bit over the last few days about why children, good people, kind people, loving people suffer such tragedies like this! His brother happens to be one of the best people I know-he and my husband are cut from the EXACT same cloth. We question why him?-why do crappy, mean, sinister, cold-hearted people get a “Free” pass?  Why can’t these diseases be the hell on earth that THEY deserve…not my brother in law!

I know-there is a bigger plan, a lesson to be learned from all of this-and I am not to question it. And I truly try not to, but it is rather difficult. I hope this lesson-plan is a BIG meaningful one.

What I have seen and what I do know is that there are so many beautiful people in this world! I often begin to lose Faith in humanity and the lack of respect and kindness. But it never, ever ceases to amaze me the words, prayers, gestures, and love that is felt in times like these. And maybe that is the lesson, to remind people how to be compassionate and kind to one another. Not to sweat the small stuff and to be angry over those things.

Please say prayers for my brother in law and our family.

Love to All-Kim