Monday, January 7, 2013

Well, I Didn't See That Coming

"Be careful what you wish for. You might just get it."
-Proverb

 

So I was hoping the holidays would bring something interesting to talk about here on A Drop in the Bucket. They certainly did. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. And we never even saw it coming.

 

Just as we were settling into a frame of mind that said, “This Christmas is going to suck because
Grandmama’s not here,” Mama learned that she had a malignant lump in her breast. It kind of shook us up.

 

So, instead of moping around missing Grandmama, we got our game faces on to battle this cancer beast.

 

Mama had a lumpectomy that was successful in removing the entire lump, and all of the lymph nodes appear clear. We were very fortunate.

 

Of course, she still has radiation and five years of estrogen treatments and maybe some chemo ahead, but I feel like that’s manageable. It’s still unbelievably scary, but we know enough about cancer to be thankful. We know that we are among the lucky ones.

So what have I learned?

 

1. For the love of all that is holy, people, get your checkups.

 

They found Mama’s cancer during a routine mammogram. The doctor said it could have been years before she felt that lump on her own, and by then, who knows what we’d be facing? Yes, they’re awkward and uncomfortable, but you just have to get them.

 

2. Cancer is absolutely terrifying.
 

It can turn your world upside down in a heartbeat. One minute, we were assuring Mo that she is not the only child on earth without an Elf on the Shelf, and the next, we were sitting in a hospital waiting room, while our pastor prayed with us for healing for Mama, wisdom for her doctors and encouragement for us.

 

3. My mom is pretty amazing.
 

She was diagnosed one day, and - I'm not even kidding - within, like, 4 days, she had all of her Christmas presents bought and wrapped, she made a cake for the kids' pediatrician, she took soup to a sick family member and was totally ready for the holidays. I know she was scared and still must be. But she has handled this ordeal with beauty and grace and faith. I'm so proud that she's my mom.
  
 

Mama with her girls

4. I learned that not all friendships are created equal.
 
When something like a cancer diagnosis happens, friends come out of the woodwork. There are the ones who call to get information that they can pass on to others. There are the ones that offer to pray - and they might actually do it. There are the ones that remember to call even when the surgery is over to see how everyone's doing. And there are the truest ones of all: the ones who know you're lying when you say you're fine, who show up to sit for hours at the hospital, who say more with a hug than with a million words, who pray - really pray - faithfully and earnestly for you, whether you're in the midst of tragedy or not. I learned my family is blessed with more than our fair share of friends. And I hope those truest friends know how much we love and appreciate them.