Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Preparing For A New Journey

2014 hasn't been the best year so far. Don't get me wrong it's held many blessing and good times so far but it's also brought a lot of heartache. Watching my Grandma slowly slip away since late January and finally being with her as she lost her battle with stomach cancer in mid March was a very hard and dark time for me.

Just when the healing started to begin my Mom began to get very sick. She was having a lot of issues and pain with her stomach and it was honestly very scary. Hoping for the best but preparing for the worst was my frame of mind. A few weeks of back and forth to several doctors finally confirmed a diagnosis of diverticulitis. A common disease that produces abscess pockets in her intestines and colon. She was treated with some antibiotics and sent home. A few weeks later the pain returned with a vengeance and this time surgery seemed to be the answer.

A two week hospital stay, pretty routine surgery and a lot of prayers later my Mom seemed to be on the mend. She was healing quickly physically  but emotionally it was hard. She is a very emotional person and everything going on with her health was really effecting her mentally and emotionally. She seemed to have reached a good place and was heading home from the hospital in a few short days when an unexpected visit from her doctor took place. He had popped in periodically while she was recovering to check on her and chat about her recovery but this visit was different. He wasn't just popping in. He came in with a distinct purpose.

The type of surgery she had done was removing part of her colon to take out any of the abscess and infection that the diverticulitis had caused. They removed about 14 inches of it and also removed her appendix which he assured us was a common practice in order to avoid having problems with it down the road. Routinely, what is removed during surgery is sent off to be tested to make sure nothing else more serious could be lurking. We never really thought much about the results because us nor the doctor were expecting it come back abnormal.

The results that day were shocking. They were life changing. And they HURT. They hurt so bad emotionally. The results confirmed that she did indeed have colon cancer. Immediately I became very angry. I was mad because it didn't seem fair. We had just dealt with this. We had just lost someone we all loved so very much and seen the pain it caused her every single day. My mom is young. She is pretty healthy. She had no signs or symptoms. It wasn't fair that she was going to go through this after being by my Grandma's side constantly watching her slip away from this terrible disease day by day.

We were full of questions and uncertainties. We had no idea what stage it was or if it was all removed during surgery. We had no idea what was going to happen next or what to expect in the coming days, weeks and months. Her doctor ordered some blood to be drawn and it came with even more bad news. The cancer was in her lymph nodes. I began to quickly research every thing I could online about colon cancer and the stages, what the survival rate was, how long chemo would have to last and what to expect while she was having chemo.

I was wondering what my part in all this would be. I knew my Mom would need me....a lot. And I knew I would be there for her for any and all of this journey. She had done such an amazing job taking care of my Grandma and I knew I wanted to do the same for her. I knew she would need someone to cry to and someone to make her laugh. Someone to sit with her during those long hours of chemo treatments and someone to hug her tight and just say "I'm here" during all of this.

Hearing this news puts so many things into perspective. We get so busy doing the day to day mundane tasks, rushing here and there to do things that at the end of the day aren't even important. I realized that day after hearing the diagnoses that I wasn't going to have any regrets. I had regretted not accepting what was happening to my grandma sooner. I had regrets about being in denial for so many months and not being with her more. Not telling her I loved her every single day. I had something very important that I had wanted to tell my Grandma for months and months but never got the courage until standing alone beside her casket in the funeral home that day. I regretted that so much.

I wasn't going to have one single regret with my mom. There wasn't going to be one single time that I was going to look back and say " I wished I was there with her for that". I wasn't going to let a day go by without calling or stopping by to see her.

She has an appointment with the cancer doctor in a few days and I will be there with her with all of my questions. I am scared for her and scared for me. I am unsure of the unknown but there are three things I know: My mother is strong, prayers are answered every single day, and I will be by her side through it all.

So bring it on cancer. We may be scared but we are strong and God is on our side.

And we have each other.

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