22/05/2016

Mindfulness | When cancer comes

The second day of the Easter holidays, my mum tells me she'll be back a little late today as she has a dr's appointment and that there's pasta dish on the side I can heat up for dinner if I'm hungry before the time she's back. I don't really pay much attention, I presume she's going in for HRT and know I won't be hungry before 5. So I get on with my day.
Kikki K Mindfulness Journal


My dad comes home around five, very early for him. He comes into my room where strangely me and my brother are having a really nice conversation about life in general which we rarely do. He asks us how we are and if we mind putting some dinner on as mum's had a hard time at the hospital at a breast examination. Hospital? She had told me she was just going to the Drs? I was immediately alarmed.


Around ten minutes later mum came in, shaking and clearly in shock. She then told us that she had a letter back from a routine mammogram the week before, saying that something had changed in her results since the last check. And that today they saw a tumour on the UV scan, and after a while of stepping around it she finally said ' I have breast cancer, we just have to find out next week what type.'

The whole world stopped for a second, there was a ringing in my ears and a fuzziness in my vision. Everything was still. And then I snapped back into the real world and the tears started shedding. Unable to give my mum a proper hug because of how sore she was on her side from her bioscopy- I went to my room, just cried and called my boyfriend to come over.

The next week was easily the hardest of my life. Although common forms of breast cancer are very treatable now, it was the not knowing whether she had a rare one and what stage she was at. I can't quite talk about that week yet as it's a little too soon to think back to it, although I know I can remember each part vividly.

Next Monday finally comes after an eternity and we find out that my mum has loebular invasive cancer, not the most common but not one of the most rare. And she's in stage two. In the strangest way that was probably the happiest day of my life, because even though I was finding out my mum definitely had cancer- it was treatable. And I knew I wasn't going to lose my mum age 20.

I'd be completely lying if I said from there on it it was straight forward. There's been a lot of what seem like almost pointless trips to the surgeon and every other week it seems like we're waiting for another result to let us know what type of treatment she may need or more. But now we know the date of her lumpectomy and from then they'll know what treatment she needs.

There are obviously more details and other bits I've missed, but for now it's still a little bit too fresh and hard to talk about. When it's all over and she's beaten this thing I'm sure I will.

However, in the mean time I can part some advise if you know anyone going through a similar situation. Luckily, breast cancer is very very treatable. But that doesn't stop it from having a huge impact on your family and of course the sufferer. So don't treat it like it's no big deal. It's very difficult to even explain to people what's going on sometimes so just try to show some empathy.

On the other hand, you don't want to be too over dramatic. I've had people burst out crying as I've told them and similarly my mum's even had someone turn around to her and said ' Have you sorted your will?'. Not what we need to hear.

Although this all sounds relatively obvious you'd be surprised at how many people fail to strike a balance. If you find your self struggling or not knowing what to say, just go with the generic ' I'm so sorry to hear that, if you need anything at all just let me know'. It's a safe bet and just knowing people are around you are there for you means the absolute world.

And god forbid, should a family member of your's be diagnosed, do whatever you can to make them feel comfortable and make things just that much easier.  Help around the house, keep your patience and give plenty of hugs. My mum's really into mindfulness and so I bought her this beautiful journal from Kikki K. Although this time isn't something we want to be constantly reminded about when we're older  it is clearly something we can't forget, so it will be good to see what helped us get through it and what mind set we'll need to be in.

Finally, don't forget to look after yourself and your well being. Make the most of your friends and appreciate what you have. Don't let it put your life on hold but be prepared to make changes.

Stay positive and well
N x
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