Rightwood Update

My mom had a billion tests last week to measure how her treatments were working. And the results are in.

Drumroll please…

1. It was determined that she did not actually have a stroke. All of her symptoms were caused by a bone spur in her shoulder. I’m not sure what a bone spur is, but it’s definitely better than a stroke.

2. All of her tumor markers went down. Again, even after asking my mom, I’m still not sure what a tumor marker is, but I can assure you this is a very good thing.

3. The tumors in her chest and abdomen have not progressed. Halt, bitches!

4. The tumor in her left hip has shrunk. The tumor in her right hip has disappeared. That’s right, I said disappeared.

The only thing that’s not under control yet is the skin cancer, but the doctor’s are not as concerned about that because it’s not life threatening. The next course of action is to do two rounds of chemo pills (to hopefully get that skin cancer busted up) and then go back to the hormone treatments.

How am I feeling right now? Grateful. Grateful to all you for your thoughts and prayers. Grateful to my mom for being such a fighter. And grateful that we got this wonderful news just before Christmas. I couldn’t have dreamed-up a better Christmas present.

A Thousand Thanks

My mom and pops at my wedding.

My mom had a stroke on Monday night. She is fine, but has limited use of her left arm. The doctors say it should be as good as new with time. They ran a bunch of tests and found no cause. Apparently this is common in Stroke Land. They suspect it’s not caused by her cancer, but from the stress of having cancer. Fun, right? They’re discharging her from the hospital today and they cleared her to travel to Philadelphia tomorrow. She insists on still coming to Thanksgiving, even though we assured her we would go up there instead. I think she’s crazy, but I will honor her wishes. All I care about at this point is that she is ok. I’ll do whatever she wants and needs. Plus, when Rightwood says she’s doing something, it’s best not to mess with her.

I guess all I want to say to you guys is this: hug your loved ones extra tight tomorrow. Because every moment you have with them is a gift.

Happy Thanksgiving. I know I’m extremely thankful this year.

Update

Thank you all for the outpouring of thoughts and prayers. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to ask you to keep them going a little while longer.

It turns out my mom’s cancer is stage IV. Let’s just say that’s pretty much the opposite of what we were hoping for. Surgery is not an option. Our best bet is to keep the cancer from spreading, which means my mom will need chemo treatments for the rest of her life. Not ideal, but my mom insists it’s not going to cramp her style.

I will say I definitely picked an interesting time to quit drinking. I may or may not have had multiple red velvet cupcakes last night, but I did not have a drink. And as much as I want one, I’m not going to do it. I not only owe it to myself and Baby-Best-Yet-To-Be to stay as healthy as possible, but I now I owe it to my mother as well.

As my mom said last night, “We need to widen Hope Street into a freeway.” So that is what we’ll do. Because there is nowhere to go but onward.

Calling All Thoughts, Prayers and Other Niceties

I got a call from my mom today at 5 p.m. sharp. I knew a phone call at the exact minute I was due to leave work could only be bad news. Unfortunately, I was right.

My mother’s cancer is back. Bam! That tricky-slick disease totally sucker punched us.

We don’t know what stage the cancer is in. We don’t know how good or bad the prognosis is. We don’t know anything, really. She has a PET scan tomorrow to determine all of these things. We’re hoping to have answers within 24 hours of the test.

For now, we wait. Speaking as someone who has gone through this before, my mother says this initial waiting is the hardest part.

While we are waiting, I would love it if you all could keep her in your thoughts. If you’re the praying kind, those would be great, too. If her cancer is local, we’re golden. Chances are she’ll need surgery and then she’s all set. No further action required. If it’s not local, well, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

So, please, keep your fingers, thoughts and prayers crossed that we hear that magic word…local.

My mother survived her last round of cancer like a champ, managing to maintain a level of optimism and grace along the way that was inspiring. She is feisty, stubborn and incorrigible. If you try to tell her no, forget about it. You do not, and I repeat, do not, want to mess with her. Quite frankly, I’m surprised Mr. Cancer dared show his face around her again. Clearly, he must be a little slow on the uptake.

My mother told me tonight that she’ll be fine. You may not know this about her, but she is always right. My father and I often acknowledge this fact by calling her Mrs. Rightwood. So listen, if Rightwood says she’s going to be fine, then she will be. End of story.

But I bet she’d still like to know that you have her back. Send some positive energy her way. It would mean more to her (and me) than you’ll ever know.