A place where I can chronicle my family's journey through cancer. A place where WE can discuss our concerns. A place where WE can inspire each other. A place for hope.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The "Now"

So, I guess I should bring you up to speed on what's been happening since my last entry in my journal. I've decided to take a semester off from school in order to help out, not just my mom, but also my dad. So I went up to Edmonton to get some stuff sorted out and stocked up on clothes and other necessities and comforts from home. Two days ago, on the 13th of January, we went up to Calgary for our appointment at the Tom Baker Cancer Institute at the Foothills hospital. I was feeling quite optimistic and enthusiastic about (FINALLY) getting the ball rolling, but when we arrived at the cancer ward, I couldn't help but feel a little overwhelmed. Not only was this our first time in a cancer ward period, but also a cold reality slap that the last two weeks weren't just some long-ass bad dream. This was now our reality, and we were in a place with others who shared that same reality. It was a bit depressing to see how busy the cancer ward was. Patients filled the waiting rooms and anxiously looked at their call numbers to see if it was finally their turn to take their blood tests or x-rays. The whole experience just felt so...alien to us. It felt cold and sterile and just.... not right. But the simple fact is that we would have to start getting used to this environment, because it would soon be rooted deep into our lives. That day, mom got her blood work, x-ray, and bone marrow biopsy done. We were there from 9am to about 3pm and were thoroughly exhausted by the time we walked out of there. Good news was that the blood work and x-ray came back with good, or rather, expected results. Her hemoglobin levels were still good, etc. etc. but her bones showed up to be very, very weak. A symptom of the disease. That was a little discouraging, but we were relieved to hear that the doctors hadn't, from the lab results, found any other reasons for concern (spread of cancer, etc.). We did the bone marrow biopsy, and it went fairly well at first (extraction of bone marrow). But when he took the biopsy of her bone, she was definitely in pain. I mean, who wouldn't be in pain when a doctor chips off a piece of your bone??? I can't imagine that felt lovely at all.... But she was a soldier and held her head high throughout the day. I was really proud of how she handled everything. If I was scared, I can't even imagine how she felt. Afterward, another doctor sat us down and basically gave us a Cancer101 tidbit, followed by about 9 handbooks and pamphlets, instructions, tips, and medication. I'm incredibly grateful for these doctors and everything they did for us, and i don't mean to complain because they were absolutely wonderful, but danggggg. It was an incredible amount of information in a very short period of time. We discussed the medications that my mom would be taking, and each one seemed like the pronunciation was a minute long. Dexamethasone, etc. etc. The doctor might as well have told us we were taking $*#SD$@&, 3242@#%@sdfa, and @#$@#$afa because we wouldn't have known the difference. Thankfully, now we have ourselves organized and ready-to-go with all this "stuff". It's a bit intense, the beginning of this whole process, of this journey, but I imagine that it's something we're going to have to get used to. I'm incredibly thankful and pleased with the oncologist that we have right now. I've read some horror stories about these specialists being cold and distant, treating you like a case instead of a person, but ours was very warm, gentle, and understanding. He talked to us like we were human beings, people with lives that were all of the sudden, shattered. I'm incredibly thankful. So, until our next appointment, we're at home waiting for the results of the biopsy, which should be coming shortly. We'll finally be able to get a confirmed diagnosis. We're hoping for the best, but regardless of whatever outcome we get, we'll finally be able to commit to a plan and focus everything we have into making sure we get it done (vs. wasting all our time and energy by waiting, worrying, questioning, etc.). Until then, we're at home trying to build up my mom's health to the best of our abilities by preparing healthy meals and light exercise so she'll be in good shape before treatment. Wish us luck!

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