Friday, August 31, 2012

Friendship is...part 2

When you call your other best friend in full blown out hysterics, incomprehensible and she doesn't know if you are crying over your own diagnosis or a parenting issue or a work related blunder...and all you say is: "just don't tell me to calm down"

Her first response, without knowing the issue was: "get riled up!"

And I did...and with her amazing grace and guidance...I calmed down.

This cry happened to be over parenting issues/puppy being sent home from school and probably not invited back...but mixed in with getting that call while on the biopsy table for a third time in as many weeks, I hit my breaking point.

Thankful today for best friends.

Friendship is....

When your best friend offers to help in anyway, and adds: "like if you need a flap of skin or anything. Mine is not in *the* best condition, but it is pretty nice and tan right now!"

Not just friendship, but LOVE.

Letter to the school...

Dear Friends (Bob, Belle, Bean and Puppy's Teachers, Learning Specialists and Guidance Counselors),

I am writing this note to you in confidence, as you all have direct contact with our children on a daily basis.

I wanted to make sure that you are informed about things happening at our home that may affect our children's behavior, academics and/or mood.
I know most of you for many years in different capacities, but some of you are new to our "family;" and to my new friends I apologize for this to be one of the first communications you receive from me.

I found out last Friday that I have cancer, melanoma, we are waiting for final staging information.
We believe that we caught it early.

We were hoping for positive news today from a second biopsy so that I could have surgery on Wednesday; that did not happen and my surgery will be more invasive so it has been postponed and referred to a different doctor. I do not know that date yet, but I will let you know as soon as I do.
We plan on talking with the kids individually on their level on Sunday or Monday about it.

I don't believe in hiding things, or giving them too much information. Our conversation will be age appropriate and matter of fact.
The hope is that since we caught it early, after surgery all will be fine.

Until we hear otherwise - that is how we are approaching the situation.
That said, for children to hear the word cancer is scary, especially since they know J's dad passed away 10 years ago from (brain) cancer.

(As of Tuesday September 4th) This is not a secret; I do not want them to feel they have a burden. Once we tell them, they are free to discuss it with you or a friend as appropriate.
I am looking to you, as you spend much more time with them during the day, to help give them guidance as to appropriate time and place. Again, they may not feel any need or desire to share.

They may not say anything to you or their friends, but they may and I just want you to know what we are saying to them so that if they get confused or say something not accurate people are not alarmed; especially if it invokes an emotional trigger in whomever they are talking to.

- it is cancer, it is called melanoma

Good news -
- the doctors think we caught it early and when caught early it is a very treatable and curable cancer
- that means I will have surgery, but don't see any reason for chemotherapy or radiation at this time
- we are very lucky to have some of the best doctors in this area

Other info to alleviate their worries for themselves:
- we are and always have been careful about sunscreen and being in the sun with them
- they do a great job wearing swimshirts to protect their shoulders and back and sunglasses/hats to protect their eyes
- this is not the same kind of cancer that Grandpa G died from and brain cancer is not hereditary (even though he was not my father - he is J's I don't want them to worry)
- we will always be honest with them and they can ask any questions
- they can always feel free to come to us, Grammy and Grandpa (my parents) or Ms. G (nurse at school)

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions you have or concerns about the kids. I promise to keep you updated, but do not feel like you are prying if you have questions - if I don't feel comfortable sharing yet, I will let you know.
Thanks for all you do each and every day for our kids. We truly appreciate it.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

"Day 7" More News...

So I got another call today from Dr. B's - the second biopsy came back andonce again there is good news and bad news.

Bad news is that the second biopsy came back as Melanoma

Good news is that it is stage 0

Bad news is that she doesn't feel comfortable doing the surgery herselfsince it will be a bigger incision and more invasive procedure.

Good news is that I probably won't have surgery on our anniversary

Bad news is I don't know timing and things are up in the air.

I go back tomorrow so she can re-check other moles - as she thought this wasjust a precautionary one...and it came back not good. So now that the incisionwill be bigger she wants to check to see if there are others in the path.

I think this is the first time my heart started to feel fluttery in my chest- for lack of a better metaphor.

I started to think about how we will tell the kids - and then I started to write a letter to their teachers...I think that helped calm me a bit and re-group. Tomorrow is another day. We still don't know anything - one step at a time.

In the meantime I got a text from my friend JSM whowas diagnosed a year ago with Stage 4 Breast Cancer – that is already in herliver and bones. She is now 33 and has 17 month old twins (she was diagnosed at32 with 5 month old twins). She asked if we could take the boys overnight soshe and her husband could go to a B&B. I didn’t want to tell her about me.I am trying to put things in perspective, this is so nothing compared to her,but I needed her to know I wouldn’t be able to lift the boys…though we haveenough people in the house that could help. I probably shouldn’t have told her.But I did – casually. But then I felt really selfish. One of those things I will play over again and again in my head. Time to move on....

one step at a time.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

"Day 6" Waiting...

Today I am waiting. Today I melted down. Today I am itchy.

Things aren't going well the second day of school for Puppy. And when I realized I don't know what next week will bring either health wise or school wise I lost it. But worse, I lost it on the phone with Puppy's school. I didn't get angry kind of lost it...I cried, and cried about the unknown.

It wasn't appropriate. I just couldn't keep it together. Waiting is hard. I have never been good at it.

And still being itchy sucks.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

"Day 5" Itchy!

Don't know which is worse...the itchiness of the allergic reaction I had to my bandaid - last had on on Saturday...or the pull of the healing wounds from the biopsy.

I think right now the allergic reaction! See that red patch below the biopsy/ left is the second picture?
J may divorce me if he has to keep scratching it for me;)

Monday, August 27, 2012

"Day 4" Angry

My emotions are all over the place.
I am waiting for the second biopsy results to think anymore.

But today I am angry at me. The 16, 18, 20 year old me...the one who wanted to get tan at the expense of my 37 year old self. I am not even someone who was cute enough in a bathing suit to be laying out the way I did.

Of course I laid on my stomach...because my stomach up would have looked ridiculous. My back has paid the price.

I pray my husband and children don't have to pay a price for me turning my back.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

"Day 2" Cancer is cancer...but is it?

Cancer is cancer...but is it? How do I compare what I have to what friends are going through, what others are going through. I feel like I don't have the right to ask for prayers...or even pray myself.

Am I thankful this was caught early? For sure. Do I feel like I have cancer? No.

Most of me is assuming the surgery will be over on September 5th and I will be done with cancer. Is that true? Am I being realistic? Am I being naive?

Not quite sure what comes next. Or what to do.

Both Biopsies

Friday, August 24, 2012

"Diagnosis Day" Cancer. Second Biopsy

Don't know how I feel about that word. Today I got diagnosed with cancer. It is just stage 1a melanoma. But it is cancer. Don't know where this journey will take me.

Running thoughts:
1. "survival rate for 5 years 97% and 95% for 10 years"- best odds...but my heart sank to hear those words...survival.rate.
2. All first generation relatives must be checked. Parents, siblings, children....
A. someone gonna tell Bio? Or did he have it already and not even tell me.
B. Lolo and her will they check her? What if she needs a biopsy?
C. When can I get the kids do I tell them.
3. I have not cried. I feel ok about it all.
4. Do I tell anyone? This is not a whoa is many others have so much more going much worse diagnoses...this is caught early, best case scenario, don't need to have the drama.

Cancer. Damn I was stupid....dear 16 year old me is right.