Cancer sucks. Part 1- finding out.

cancer sucks

In January, doctor told my mum she’s got a breast cancer. She has been doing regular self-check ups and it literally felt like the lump she’s found, has grown overnight (she didn’t have any other symptoms). We all thought this was hormonal stuff (it happened before). Besides, cancer happens to ‘others’ not us, right? Well, it turns out it happens to us and it’s a mean, fast growing stage 2 cancer.

Finding out process.

After finding a lump, mum visited her local GP practice. She was referred to a cancer clinic for further tests: mammogram, breast ultrasound and biopsy (in that order). It took around 3 weeks (counting from the day mum has found the lump) to get a diagnosis.

Here in the UK, you get contact number to a nurse that is familiar with your medical case and is supporting you through the whole process. In Edinburgh, there’s separate clinic for treating breast cancer. Caring volunteers give coffee and cookies to patients and families in the waiting room. Unfortunately, there are tons of patients there everyday! Volunteers also sew small cushions, that are used as arm support by women after breast surgery.

Since January mum had two cancer and lymph nodes removal procedures, she has just started chemotherapy. She will have to undergo radiotherapy and will have to take various medicines for 5 years.

Finding out…and the internet.

Everything we thought we knew about cancer? We simply had to forget it in a blink of an eye.
Everything was different than we expected. I didn’t understand where doctors were going with this, I didn’t understand the whole process. Everything seemed illogical to me. We like to think that we are so clever , but when it comes to serious medical matters, we know nothing and we usually rely on snippets of informations from the internet. And that’s not good. After googling ‘breast cancer’ my mum has ‘found out’ that she’s got 2 years left to live (maximum), which was not true. Reasonable medical sites are not detailed enough and there’s a good reason for that: every condition is completely different and there’s absolutely no point of stating someone’s chance for survival over the internet. Doctors will tell you everything you need to know, when they know. Unreasonable medical sites will scare the beejesus out of you, giving you very detailed description of  ‘everything you need to know’. It turned out to be totally misleading in my mum’s case, as her cancer size and type didn’t ‘match’ general description. Obviously, after diagnosis you want to find out ‘something’ about it online, but maybe it’s a good idea to stick to official gov sites (it’s  www.nhs.uk & patient.info  in the UK) or to read about someone’s experience on their blog (or cancer forum). But please, for your own sake never google generic info and read one page article that will scare you and make you more confused! Waiting for the results is the worst and that was the time when my mum was tempted to google stuff.

Random things that surprised me.

They told my mum it was a cancer immediately after biopsy. After that I was super confused. How can they know without official biopsy results??? Nurse told mum, that doctor was able to ‘recognize’ cancer when looking at sample’s color.

Doctor didn’t use term invasive . He said that ‘cancer is a cancer’. I’m still super confused about that one. What about the benign?

I was not aware that mum will have to go through chemo after cancer removal surgery. Cancer was out of her body, so there’s nothing to fight, right? But doctor told mum that, some cancer types respond great to chemo (  as in ‘they hate chemo’) and she must undergo chemotherapy to make sure cancer won’t come back.

After the lymph nodes removal procedure, mum’s hand is a little bit shorter. In some places it’s a bit like a phantom hand: mum feels nothing while touching it.

Next time, I’ll write some more about undergoing cancer surgery.

Hugs,

mila

 

***

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or health professional. Please, always seek help from health professionals.

 

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24 thoughts on “Cancer sucks. Part 1- finding out.

  1. Hi Mila – I saw your post on Inspiration Monday. I’ve been to your blog a few times but had to stop by to read this post. I am a breast cancer survivor and I absolutely hate to hear when others have to go through this. I know it’s a rough journey and my prayers for blessings of good health will be with you and your Mum. Hugs, Holly
    Holly recently posted…Summer Essentials – What’s In Your Bag?My Profile

    • Thank you, Holly! It’s much appreciated.
      Mum is a strong woman! 🙂
      I read your engagement story and cancer resources guide. Thanks for writing about this!
      Hugs,
      Mila

  2. Mila, I’m so sorry to hear this about your mother. My aunt has breast cancer and I know hardly anything about this. All I can say is that I will keep you and your mom in my prayers.

  3. Mila prayers and positive thoughts are with you and your family. Best of luck xo

  4. cancer is a horrible thing, but I find the word “suck” such a nasty word. Maybe it is an age difference, but that word was used in an offensive sexual way several years ago. When I see or hear that word I cringe. I am so sorry your mother has to endure this awful disease. My prayers will be with you both.

  5. Barbara Anne says:

    Mila,

    So sorry that your mum has to deal with breast cancer and I wish her well.

    As to some of your questions, cancer can be all in one place, called “in situ”, and this means it’s not “invasive”. When cancer has grown outwards to a nearby location, it is “invasive”.

    If something is “benign” it is NOT cancer at all. It’s just a lump that isn’t dangerous.

    The follow-up chemo and/or radiation is to make sure every tiny cancer cell that might have remained is killed before it can cause trouble.

    Hope this helps.

  6. I’m so sorry that your mum (and you) have to go through this, Mila. I will send all of my positive thoughts your way. Hoping for a full recovery for her!
    Julie recently posted…Summer Faux Succulent WreathMy Profile

  7. I am so sorry for your mom, Mila, I will remember her in my prayers. Two of my sisters were diagnosed with cancer and are both survivors. One breast, one other…as you said, nothing was as expected. I wish your family peace and strength.

  8. Mila. I just finished undergoing treatment for lymphoma cancer (cancer of the lymph nodes) for the last three years. The first year I had radiation, the second year radiation and this last year six months ofmchemo. I hated the chemo. Everyone reacts differently. Perhaps your Mom will have a few chemo sessions instead of six months’ worth like me. Either way, I will pray for her and sign up to receive notifications for your blog. God will provide the strength that your Mom may not have at this time. Tiredness is the longest and most aggravating symptom/side effect. It can last for years. Prayers and love to you both.

    Cate <

    • Thank you, Cate! Mum has 6 session planned. She’s just received her second. She didn’t felt so bad after the first one. We’re ready for the worst and we’re hoping for the best! 🙂
      Hugs,
      Mila

  9. Don’t we always think it’s supposed to happen to other people, not us? I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t had at least one family member with a cancer diagnosis. And friends, too. I’m sorry your mother has to suffer from this horrible disease. I pray she has wonderful results from treatment and lives a nice, long, and active life.
    Kim recently posted…How Organizing Your Freezer Refreshes Your Entire LifeMy Profile

  10. Mila, I was so sorry to read about your mom’s diagnosis. Thank you for writing about this, and the reminder that sometimes the little knowledge that can be acquired on the Internet can do more harm than good. While it is good to be your own advocate, it takes a medical degree to really understand each case. My very best wishes for a complete recovery to her and thoughts of support to you.
    SusanF – ofeverymoment.com recently posted…Our National Parks are Not Disneyland!My Profile

    • Thank you, Susan! That means a lot! Now, with google at our fingertips, we are all doctors right? 😉
      I’ve never realized how much harm it may cause.
      Hugs,
      Mila

  11. […] Google+ || Bloglovin’ || Twitter || Pinterest || Instagram || Hometalk Cancer sucks. Part 1- finding out. Bedroom decorating […]

  12. I’m so sorry to hear about your mom’s diagnosis. 🙁 Cancer really does suck. I wish her a speedy battle and a declaration of remission after it’s all over. 🙂

    Good luck-prayers sent your way!

    ~Michelle

  13. […] I mentioned in my previous ‘Cancer sucks’ post, my mum had two cancer and lymph nodes removal surgeries. She was diagnosed in January, and a […]

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