If you are just stopping in, this is the eighth post in my 31 Day Series: I Wear Pink. Join me as I share my breast cancer journey. You can find the previous posts here.
Returning home late, Pat called to me as soon as I walked in the front door, “I can’t believe you still haven’t heard from the doctor.” Then he saw my face. Realization struck him and he sunk into a nearby chair. “They did call you.”
We whispered. Heads together. I explained the little I knew. Definitely cancer. Small. The litany of surgery, chemo, radiation. We had planned for a home. We had planned for children. We had planned for holidays, college for the kids, vacations, job schedules, parties, and grocery lists. Cancer was not something we had ever planned for.
Pat and I have been blessed with six children. All miracles. First, we had three boys. They arrived the usual way. Then we adopted three more children. A sibling group, our daughter and two more sons. Our children ranged in age from 25 - 7. Patrick, our oldest son, had driven me to the biopsy the week before, lives in our home. Our second son, James, is married and lives in Georgia. Brian in college. Patty in high school. The younger boys, Anthony and Connor, were in elementary school.
We told the in home children. We kept it as low key as cancer can possibly be. We explained that I had cancer and the doctor was going to take it out. I might be sick for a little while, but then I would be better. The youngest boys not realizing the seriousness of the situation were more concerned with having ice cream after dinner. Patty had overheard some of our conversations. She already knew.
We began to phone the family. Pat called his mother and James. He called our closest friends. I called both of my brothers and then called my Mom and Dad.
My parents are in their seventies. They raised the three of us, worked hard, and then retired to live in a small house on the Chesapeake Bay. My Dad loves boats and salt water. My Mom is frightened to be on a boat, but loves watching the water outside her window.
Words can not express how difficult it was to tell my parents. I started to tell Dad, he quickly put Mom on the phone. I started over. “Mom, I’ve had some bad news. I have breast cancer.” Immediately, she began to reassure me that women get called back from mammograms all the time and she even had a biopsy once and it was just fine. “No, Mom. I already had the biopsy. It is cancer.” Her voice stuttered to a stop.
“But you talked to us on Saturday.” She reminded me.
“I know. I didn’t want to worry you if it was nothing.” I went on to explain the series of mammograms and the biopsy. I could hear Mom trying not to let me hear her cry. She passed me back to Dad.
Dad told me they loved me, to take care of myself and to let them know if I needed anything. Mom immediately put me on her church prayer chain.
Pat and I had done what we could for the day. We went to bed and held each other close.
Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
your right hand upholds me. ~Psalm 63:7-8