Saw this somewhere else and felt the need to post it cause no one else ever really tells you this stuff
My mom never really noticed. She noticed when she was breast feeding my little brother and blood started coming out instead of milk.
My mom said she felt and saw a little lump in the shower. She was lucky enough she found it at stage 2
My mom had a mammogram. The radiologist thought the spots were just regular calcium deposits.
Turns out it was triple negative breast cancer that had spread to her lymph nods. Mastectomy, radiation and chemo saved her life.
This could SAVE a life.
My mother found a lump the size of a small walnut in her left breast in 1990. Despite strong familial history of breast cancer (Mum’s mother, my grandmother, was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 38, the same age my Mum was when she was diagnosed), the doctor chose to ignore it as just “a fatty deposit”.
Fast forward to 1994, when Mum was 38 years-old, the lump was the size of a tennis ball to touch. She underwent a full mastectomy, as well as a lymphadenectomy and had 21 lymph nodes (basically all of them) removed from her left armpit. The lump in her breast turned out to be the size of a large grapefruit. I was made to go to school that day; I spent the day convinced my mother was going to die on the operating table.
She was told the news after waking up from surgery that the cancer was not only extremely aggressive, it was secondary and had spread through her lymphatic system. She immediately underwent gruelling and intensely aggressive chemotherapy and radiotherapy. I had to clean up her puke, her diarrhoea, nursed her through migraines that rendered her screaming in agony for hours on end. I was 14 at the time; I was her sole carer.
The first round of chemo finished roughly five or six months later. The cancer had shrunk a little but not enough.
She underwent another gruelling round of chemo; a different type this time. She also underwent intensive radiotherapy. I had to change her dressings every morning and night and let me tell you — having to deal with burnt, blistering, bubbled up flesh is awful. It smells awful. My poor mother was in so much pain, it was heart-wrenching.
Due to having no lymph nodes under her left armpit, her left arm began to swell monstrously. She developed elephantiasis in that arm. It was easily four times the size of her other arm. Her skin on that arm was red raw, broken, blistered and her arm was in constant agonising pain.
Five or six months later, the oncologist made an alarming discovery: the cancer had spread to both of Mum’s lungs. She underwent another round of severely aggressive chemotherapy. I was almost 16 by this point. Within a matter of two months, Mum began experiencing breathlessness that sounded “rattly” whenever she breathed in and out. One night, she suddenly stopped breathing; she was choking and clawing at her throat and bubbles of what looked like spit were coming out of her mouth.
An ambulance was called and got to our house within five minutes and I watched them cut a large hole through her ribs and shove a thick, rubber tube into her lungs. Murky brown fluid came gushing out into a bag attached to the tube. She had been drowning in pleurisy. She was taken to hospital, where she had to stay for a couple of months.
When she came home, she was on 24/7 supply of oxygen. Her left eye started appearing to bulge from its socket. An MRI showed that the cancer had also now spread to her brain; a large lump was sitting right behind her left eye and was slowly pushing the eye out of its socket.
She’d also developed a bedsore on her foot that had gotten so bad, huge chunks of flesh hung out of the wound. It smelled awful. Having to change the dressings on her foot was horrifying. I often would end up crying because of how horrible it was and how much pain Mum was in.
Mum underwent another gruelling round of chemotherapy, which she was told to stop midway through because the chemo would end up killing her before the cancer would. She now had no choice but to wait to die. I had no choice but to watch my own mother die.
By the time I hit 17, I was no longer able to care for her on my own anymore. In Jan of 1998, she was moved into a hospice, where her morphine was upped to close to 30,000mg a day to help her through the pain. By this point, she was swallowing over 200 pills a day — morphine, amitriptyline, stemetil, breakthrough morphine, I can’t remember all the medications she had to take. Her throat was raw from all the pills she had to take. She couldn’t eat without puking (usually blood). She couldn’t shit without blood gushing out of her anus.
She was in so much pain that she spent most of her time screaming. The only time she stopped was when she was so exhausted that she’d pass out in a restless sleep. She vomited blood, she shat out blood, her left eyeball was just about out of its socket, she was having seizures that would last up to twenty minutes. One time, she fell on me while having a seizure. I was trapped on the bathroom floor underneath her while she convulsed violently. The nurses told me it was “no big deal”, that it was “just a seizure”. Yeah, that’s not how it was to me.
By May of 1998, her eyeball was starting to actually come out of the socket. Mum was no longer coherent. She made no sense when she spoke. She was extremely aggressive and violent. The worst day of my life was when I went in to visit her in the hospice and she had no idea who I was. She called me a couple of times during that time and would mumble and mutter nonsensical things down the phone at me for ages. I’d end up having to hang up on her in tears because I couldn’t handle listening to how much the cancer had destroyed my mother.
She slipped into a coma about two weeks later. She died in June of 1998. She was almost 42 years-old. I was almost 18. I still have nightmares and flashbacks about everything I had to go through. I still grieve horribly as though everything happened only recently. Traumatic grief is a horrible thing to have to suffer.
The moral of the story is: check your breasts. Be vigilant about breast cancer — and any other kinds of cancer, for that matter. Cancer is the one of the most horrible things a person can go through.
reblogging this from my other blog, call-of-cthulhu because it’s important people recognise how awful cancer is