I am convinced that "cancer" is the ugliest, scariest word in the English language. Cancer is something that happens to other people, other families. It wasn't supposed to happen to my family -- and it sure as hell wasn't supposed to happen to my mom.
I got a call in July from Deb, my stepmom, saying that my mom had previously been going in for testing -- which was complete news to me -- and that the test results came back positive. My mom, my rock, my best friend, was diagnosed with breast cancer. They hadn't told me when she was going in for testing, they said, because they didn't want to freak me out. To be fair, they know me well, and I would have freaked out. But I freaked out when I heard the diagnosis; I well and truly flipped the fuck out, and I wonder if, had I known that this possibility was on the horizon, I would have been at all calmer. Would having time to come to grips with the possibility make a difference? When I heard "breast cancer," all I could think of was Katie, a high school friend whose mother lost her battle with breast cancer our junior year. Luckily, when I was sobbing to TC about it, he reminded me of our friend Megan, whose mother successfully went through chemotherapy and has been in remission ever since.
The doctors caught it early, I was told, and the cancer isn't spreading, so that was good news. So she started chemo. And her hair fell out. And that was one of the hardest things to see.
People that compliment me on my hair, how dark and thick and wavy it is, they ought to have seen my mom's, before it fell out. Thick, and dark (though going silver), and down to her waist. My mom's hair was beautiful. And now, even though she's done with chemo and it's growing back, it's not the same. It's just...not.
The good news is that the chemo shrunk the cancer by a third. The bad news is that means there was sixty-six percent still inside her body. Mom had a radial mastectomy yesterday, where they took the tissue but left the muscle -- and while she's home now and is doing okay -- well, okay enough, for the time being -- I am so fucking scared that we're not done. I'm an adult, I've been living on my own for almost ten years, I own my own home and I'm independent and it's great, but I am still a girl that needs her mom.
I'm not proofing this. I'm sure it's disjointed, and I really don't care. I can't read it over and make edits because I can't think about this without dissolving. So I hope it makes sense, but I don't really care if it doesn't. I just had to get it out, before it choked me.