Cancer Update

Thanks for all the kind words and support from my last post about Mom’s cancer diagnosis.

It’s been awhile since I’ve written an update on Mom and how she’s doing. She recovered from the surgery like a champ. Still super-positive and determined to kick this cancer in the ass.

She had to have more tests, namely a CT scan and a EKG test. The CT scan was to look for any other cancer in her body. The EKG was to test the strength of her heart to determine the strength of chemotherapy and radiation she will need to undergo.

The CT scan came back clean; this means the surgery got all the cancer! What a relief! In fact, I’m pretty sure I looked like this:


Then I was all like:


Seriously, that was the greatest news we could’ve hoped for. While she does need to have chemo and radiation, she doesn’t need to go through a long, powerful course of treatment. The EKG came back with flying colors so she could’ve done the most aggressive treatment if need be, but with the clean CT scan that wouldn’t be necessary.

She starts chemo the day after Labor Day. This weekend I’m having the entire family up to my house for a cookout and to spend one last weekend of normalcy before Mom jumps into chemo treatments.

I’m still a bit scared for her, because who knows how she’ll react to the treatments, but having the surgery take care of the cancer was a huge weight off our collective shoulders.

Things are looking up!

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.