Cancer Sucks.

B0006421 Breast cancer cells
Breast Cancer Cells
Credit: Annie Cavanagh | Wellcome Images

Stage 3.

Two words that made my heart sink and my blood run cold.

Two weeks ago, I got a call from my mom letting me know that the biopsy she had on a lump in her breast was cancer. This past Monday, she had a modified radical mastectomy. She didn’t want to waste any time starting treatment or waiting to have surgery.

Yesterday, she had her meeting with the oncologist to get the results from the surgery and found out she has stage 3 invasive ductal carcinoma. While it isn’t stage 4, it’s still not good.

The good news – if you can find any in this situation – is that this is the most common form of breast cancer and has a pretty good survival rate. Since it’s stage 3, she will need to have radiation and chemotherapy. She will *if* she passes the heart stress test next week – apparently if a patient’s heart isn’t strong enough to handle the chemo/radiation, they can’t receive this treatment.

Needless to say, I was upset after I got the news yesterday:

I cried. I raged. I thought of every worst case scenario that I could think of. Then I had to stop myself.

One of the things I learned from my mom was: don’t worry unless you have something to worry about.

Granted, she has stage 3 breast cancer, so I can worry about that! But my downward spiral of “what ifs” wasn’t doing me any good – in fact it just made me cry and rage more. I’m pretty sure I looked like this at one time:


I’ve been able to be down helping her before and after her surgery this week because everyone at Automattic has been amazing and supportive through this. I was going to try and work this week while I was down there since I can work anywhere – but my team members and team lead just told me to not worry about things and focus on taking care of her. Going forward if I need to help out again while she goes through the chemotherapy and radiation treatments, I’ll find a way to balance the two because I don’t want to let the team down either.

I’m upset and scared for her but I also don’t want to show it to her because she has enough going on without me adding to it. I need to be strong for her now.

I also want to fix things, because that’s how I am, but you can’t fix cancer.

That sucks.

5 thoughts on “Cancer Sucks.”

  1. That’s definitely tough news Carolyn, you and your family will definitely be in my thoughts and prayers. Let us know if there’s anything we can do to support you during this!

  2. Major, major hugs, Carolyn. You guys will get through this, and your mom is so fortunate to have you by her said. If there’s anything I can do, holler 🙂

    1. Thanks Erica. All this waiting is so stressful!

      I know she was glad that I was there this week to help with her surgery after care and to do stuff around the house.

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