The last few updates have been a bit… random, haven’t they? I do have an explanation, really. Mostly, I’ve been trying to update in the midst of being sick (three weeks and counting…) while playing the waiting game on some health issues with my mom. With my head cloudy and my heart elsewhere, it is what it is.
On Thursday, we got a better picture of what’s going with Mom. We already knew she had a squamous cell carcinoma tumor on her tongue, but we were hopeful the cancer was localized. A PET scan showed otherwise. The cancer has metastasized to a lymph node, so we’re in a whole different ball game now. She and Dad plan to make final treatment decisions this week, but chemo and radiation are almost definite, with surgery possibly before or after.
To say my family is handling it well isn’t exactly untrue, as they have been hugely supported by their church. Still, it’s a lot to take in quickly, especially since we were all hoping for once-n-done tumor removal. The road is now much longer and more difficult, though the prognosis is still pretty good. Mom doesn’t fit the profile for this cancer, which is both good and bad. Most people who get this squamous cell carcinoma on their tongue are dirty old men (over 65, lifetime smokers and/or drinkers, and MEN). So it’s hard to rely on stats as we plod ahead. On the other hand, because she’s young (she laughs that 50 is considered young in this case) her body will probably respond to treatment better.
I had deliberately avoided internalizing the diagnosis until we knew whether it had metastasized or not, so the full weight hit me on Thursday. I am eternally grateful for co-workers who can talk sense and even make me laugh in the hard times, and for other co-workers who remain oblivious when I’d rather not share. I appreciate the prayer from people who know, but mass dissemination of this news via Facebook leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I’d like to avoid the awkward conversation among acquaintances, as well as the (what seems to me) artificial intimacy that comes with sharing every update with hundreds of people. So I apologize if you know my mom and are finding out this way, and I hope not to thrust a burden on you if you don’t know my family. I appreciate the prayers more than the constant queries.
I expected David and I would walk through other family health difficulties before reaching Mom, but the valley is stretching out before us all the same. I’m immensely grateful for the aid and support our church has provided to my family (it’s insane how much they’ve helped already), as it makes what’s ahead much easier.
I’m not a huge fan of CCM, but one Ginny Owens song keeps ringing in my ears right now. The lyrics of “If You Want Me To” so perfectly express the simultaneous joy of seeing God’s hand and the sadness of a broken world:
The pathway is broken
And the signs are unclear
And I don’t know the reason why
You brought me here
But just because You love me the way that You do
I’m gonna walk through the valley
If You want me to
Cause I’m not who I was
When I took my first step
And I’m clinging to the promise
You’re not through with me yet
So if all of these trials bring me closer to you
Then I will walk through the fire
If You want me to
It may not be the way I would have chosen
When you lead me through a world that’s not my home
But You never said it would be easy
You only said I’d never go alone
He gives and takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.
P.S. I have officially begun my career as a ghostwriter with my mom’s cancer blog: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/psalm11814melinda/. I’d like to keep day-to-day updates off whoarethebrittons, so please visit that site if you’d like to know how the journey continues with Mom. Thanks!