Friday, May 16, 2014

I Hate Cancer

One of my best friends' cousin was diagnosed with stage IV Hodgkin's lymphoma a few months after Jeff was diagnosed.  Her original scans showed lumps in her breast as well as the multitude of other tumors that had spread throughout her body, but her doctor's assumed the lumps in her breasts were either cysts or metastasis from lymphoma.  She went through many rounds of chemotherapy and was told that her latest scans showed that she was cancer free.  We celebrated.

But those pesky lumps were still there in her breast.  So being the proactive lady she is, she asked her doctor to have a biopsy, better to be safe than sorry.  It turns out she has breast cancer.  That means she had Hodgkin's lymphoma and breast cancer at the same time.  The only good news is that she caught it early and it's stage 0, meaning that she has been told it is fully contained in the tumor that was removed during the biopsy and the surrounding tissue found no signs of metastasis.  She is told she is still Hodgkin's lymphoma free.

She is now going to be tested for the BRCA gene, since breast cancer runs in her family.  Once those test results come back she will then make a decision to have radiation, chemotherapy, and/or a full mastectomy.

She just finished her chemotherapy for lymphoma and finally started to feel like herself again, her hair is growing and she is getting her energy back and now she's back at the starting line of a new marathon.

She is a strong woman, but she has young children.  I cannot imagine what her strapping fire fighter of a husband is going through.  On the outside he is the epitome of strength and optimism, but I was told I was also the epitome of strength and optimism as well while Jeff was running his marathon.  On the inside, I was an anxious mess pretending to be strong. 

I would love to be able to help them in any way I can, but they are holding strong on their own, just as we were holding "strong" on our own.  I remember people wanting to help us during our ordeal.  I did not call on them as much as they would have liked because I just didn't know how they could help me, just like I don't know how to tell people how to help me now.  I've been on both sides.  Both sides make one feel helpless.  I hate cancer.

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