We told the kids a few days ago. I wanted to do it quick and casual, kind of like, oh by the way, I have breast cancer…tra la la. I had this in my head that we’d employ a similar tactic that we had with the sex talk: short and sweet and to the point and leave room at the end for questions. I had also decided that it would be best not to deliver the news at night, just when we’re getting them ready for bed. So we did it in the morning, in the kitchen in the middle of our highly-practiced-yet-evolved- before-school-chaotic-rush.
C took the news fairly well, nodded thoughtfully, and then went back to eating his breakfast. J made a joke about mommy’s boobies, and Z was stone-cold-silent and then excused himself to go to the bathroom. Okay, so 2 out of 3 ain’t bad I thought as I went to find Z in his room where he had retreated.
My heart quite simply breaks when I think of seeing him in such pain and anger and fear. I know why he was scared. Cancer is a super scary thing. And Mike and I had recently lost a very dear friend to cancer earlier this year (at 42) and the kids saw us mourn and grieve and see how devastated we were (and still are). They saw the school community support our friend’s two daughters after losing their dad. There’s nothing else to say but cancer sucks.
I’m going to be okay – I can feel it. But I can’t make any promises to my kids and I can’t predict the future. What I can do is validate their feelings of sadness and fear and just try to follow their lead with this new uncertain path. Sigh.
My “shopping for surgeons” crusade has begun. Yesterday my mom and I went to UCSF (at Mt. Zion) to see a surgical oncologist there. We were both very impressed with the facility, the doctors, staff and options. Dr E confirmed what we already knew: (but it’s always nice to hear it again) that my teeny tiny tumor most definitely did not appear on my mammogram from February 2013 and they we were way lucky to have caught it now.
She also stressed that I do not need to make a decision right away and we do not need to rush into this. She is looking at scheduling surgery towards the end of November, if we choose to do it at UCSF. Dr. E also echoed what we’d read the 2 surgery options are: lumpectomy followed by 6 weeks of radiation 5 days a week, or mastectomy followed by reconstruction. She does not think I will require chemotherapy.
We are seeing 2 more doctors this week and next and we still await the full pathology report from the biopsy which will detail the stage, grade and whether the tumor is HER+ or HER- (has to do with how or if the TTT responds to estrogen). I have an MRI scheduled for Wednesday, and we won’t get the BRCA gene results for a few more weeks.
So we wait. And wait. Things are not going as fast as I’d like them to, but it is what it is.