Monday, November 16, 2015


"Mommy, what's a tumor?"

A tumor is a bunch of bad cells. And there's one cell that has faulty DNA. Basically, the cell made a bad choice, and he decided to throw a party. But it's not like a fun birthday party at the bowling alley. It's more like a party where he's getting all the other cells to be bad, too. And then all the bad cells get together and form a tumor.

"Mommy what's surgery?"

Surgery is when a doctor called an anesthesiologist gives me medicine to make me go to sleep. Then another doctor called a surgeon takes a really really sharp knife called a scalpel and makes a cut on my breast, but I don't feel it because I'm sleeping. Then she takes out the tumor and sends it to the lab to be tested so we know what type of tumor it is. She also put a port in my body so that the chemotherapy can go into my body. Then she uses thread and sews up the hole she made in my breast. Those are called stitches. And then the anesthesiologist helps me wake up.

"Mommy why did you have surgery?"

So the doctor could take out the tumor.

"Mommy can I see your scar where the surgeon took the tumor out?"

I'm not ready to show that to you yet. Maybe some day. But you can see my port.

"What's a port?"

A port is a piece of plastic that the surgeon put into my body so that the medical oncologist and the nurses can put the medicine. It's right here, can you see it? There's a tube that goes into my heart and that's where the medicine goes.

"What's a medical oncologist?"

A doctor that gets to help people with cancer. 

"Mommy, what's chemotherapy?"

Chemotherapy is a really strong medicine that kills cancer cells. It's trying to stop the bad cells from having a bigger party.

"Mommy, why do you have to have chemo if the surgeon took the tumor out?"

Because I have the biggest, baddest type of cancer, so the medical oncologist said I need to have this super strong medicine, just in case there are more cancer cells in my body that we don't know about. We want to make sure that all the cancer cells are gone.

"Mommy, do you have chemo today?"

I do. But tomorrow I don't. Let's write the days I have chemo on the calendar, and that way we all know and it won't be a surprise. Ok?

"Does getting chemotherapy hurt?"

When the nurse puts a needle into my port, there's a little poke, kinda like when you get a shot. But it's not too bad. I do not feel the chemotherapy going into my body. 

"Mommy why is your hair falling out?"

Because the chemotherapy makes all the cells that grow really really fast die. Cancer cells grow really really fast. And the cells that make up our hair and our finger nails are cells that grow really really fast.

"What happened to your finger nails?"

My finger nails got bumpy from the chemotherapy. It's no big thing. My nails will grow out eventually.

"Mommy why did Jackie shave your head?" 

Because I asked her to and she loves me and wants to help me.

"Mommy, I'm not shaving my head."

That's ok, little dude. I want you to be true to yourself. If you're not ok shaving your head, then I don't want you to do it. I expect you to be honest; you are being honest by telling me you don't want to shave your head.

"Mommy, I'm shaving my head with you."

Thanks, big dude. I know you understand what I'm going through probably better than most adults do.

"Mommy, I like you better with hair."

Thanks, little dude. It'll grow back in eventually. It'll just take a while.

"Mommy, what color is your hair going to be?"

I don't know. What color should it be?


Of course.

"And green!"


"Mommy, here's a picture I drew of us. See, you have long curly hair. Mommy will your hair be long and curly when it grows back?"

Thank you for this picture. It is beautiful! I love that you drew us holding hands, too. Did you write your name and date on it? Because I want to be able to remember that you drew it for me and when. I don't know how my hair will look when it grows back. It's pretty cool to see it come in, isn't it?

"Mom, I'm sorry you're not feeling good. Chemo is no fun."

No. Chemo is no fun. Thank you for laying in my bed and reading to me. You're so helpful and kind. I'm glad you're home with me and that you're taking care of me.

"Mommy, when will you feel better?"

In a few days, but hopefully sooner. We have to wait and see, ok?

"Mommy, I love you."

I love you too.

"Mommy, do you like going to chemo?"

Yes and no. Yes because I know that the medicine is helping me. No because I know I'm going to feel horrible and will not have the energy to get out of bed and take care of you.

"Mommy, I'm glad you're almost done with chemo."

Me too. 

"Mommy what's radiation?"

Radiation comes from the sun, so it occurs naturally. The radiation oncologist picks a certain type of radiation that comes from a machine. And this radiation helps kill the cancer cells.

"What's a radiation oncologist?"

A doctor that gets to help a lot of people who have cancer.

"But if you had chemo why do you have to have radiation?"

Because my tumor was the biggest, baddest type of tumor a woman with breast cancer can have. So the medical oncologist and the radiation oncologist work together to make sure we can beat the cancer. 

"Mom, do you have radiation today?"

Yes. I have radiation every weekday for 22 visits. Let's write a big R on the calendar so we know when I go, ok? And then, when I'm done, I'll put a big red X across the day.

"Mom, which is better? Chemo or radiation?"

Well, neither is better than the other. They are very different. Chemotherapy was slow and it took a long time, but it gave me a chance to sit down. Radiation therapy is quick, and I like that the treatment is over very quickly. Chemo made me feel really awful. Remember I had to go to the Emergency Room? Radiation makes me tired, and my breast is very sensitive, and I need you to hug me very carefully, please.

"Mommy, I'm glad you're almost done with radiation."

Me too.

"Mom, I love you and I'm sorry you have cancer."

I love you and I'm sorry that our family is going through this. But you are helping me to be strong. Thank you for loving me, my beautiful, amazingly strong boys. You have no idea how much I love you.

"Mommy, I hate cancer."

Me, too, dude. Me. Too.

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