The Unknown

Something called 'my life':
the tale of a daughter's reaction to her Mom's breast cancer treatment

you might be wondering 'where the heck is Erika and her blog posts, and why hasn't she been visiting my blog and commenting" - well Tuesday night, while myself, Joe, my Mom and Dad were having pancakes for dinner ( good news, my fave ) - my Mom's cancer doctor called from her home to talk about the concern she has for my Mom and her cancer - turns out things aren't working out the way we thought they would!

let just say after that phone call - i was a complete mess! - panic/anxiety set in FAST! - questions of 'when will this bad news stop' - and 'i love her so much to watch all this happening to her' - racing thoughts of how i'm going to get my Niece to school and sister-in-law to physical therapy - i got 3 loads of wash to still do - YES FLOODS of thoughts racing in and out of my mind - and i was plain ole SCARED! - and i CRIED and i CRIED ( something i do not do, not a crier, i'm pretty private with my emotions )

turns out my Mom's cancer is VERY aggressive, one of the fastest growing cancers you can have - they are confident they removed the tumor (yay! good news!) , but if any micro-itty-bitty cell is still swimming around my Mom's body - it can manifest in her brain, lungs, liver, ect (doctors words) so quickly and by the time they realize it has taken 'home' someplace new it most likely would be too late ..
what does this all mean?! - chemo therapy! - so all the pre tests, tattoos (they tattoo you where the radiation needs to be), and first dose of radiation - is all halted till she is finished with her chemo therapy and then she will have to restart the radiation again - so she needs chemo therapy + radiation = no more cancer
immediately i think - OK i'm gonna go shave my head! - i've been working so hard to grow my hair long, but no way i'm gonna let her go through all this alone and feel 'different' with no hair - and hell, let me be honest, i've ALWAYS wanted to shave my head, but never had the guts to do it - so staying positive about this un-positive situation, i throw the humor out there, that i'll shave my head! - but my Mom insists she'll just get a wig! - and i tell her to contact Wendy Williams, she always wears wigs - no luck on the Wendy Williams contact yet! (wig ordering in the process now)

so here's the deal --> it will take 12 weeks to complete the chemo therapy process, each session being 2-3 hours each - by week 2 she will have no hair - she will defiantly be tired, and her cell count will drop - these are the 3 guarantees the doctor made - all the other side effects are unique to each patient and the doctor will alter her chemo drugs to help with the side effects

in addition my Mom has RSD ( a condition that has to do with your nerves, and many doctors have no knowledge of, which is scary in its own rite )  and one of the 'regular' drugs used to treat this cancer has a side effect of nerve reactions - so the doctor has to research and contact RSD specialists and see if it will be an issue or not - either way they can alter her 'therapy' to accommodate this issue ( good news ) - also my Mom has only 1 arm they can use to put the IV in ( bad news, other arm has the RSD ) and her veins aren't so great - so she might need to go in for surgery to get a port put in ( so-so news ) , this way they can give her the chemo through the port - which the port process is painful, but within 3 days of the surgery the pain issue should substantially subside ( current patient at hospital guided us through what she went through and said it indeed hurts, but it's not 'that' bad - she was very positive )

the next day (Wednesday) my Mom had her appointment with her doctor (my Dad ended up having to drive himself to his knee doctor that day too) - that day was an ice/snow storm here in Jersey and her doctor/hospital is up the mountains - i couldn't sleep a wink that night (Tuesday night, the night of the call) and was in tears since i heard the news - (think:  total anxiety attack, million thoughts running through your mind, the unknown, ect.)  i called Joe when i woke myself up by crying - he was on his way into work (NYC), got right off the bus, hopped on the next bus heading back to Staten Island, ran to where he parked his car and rushed over to be there for me and my family! - THANK YOU JOE! - he let me cry, he cried with me (he lost his Dad in March to cancer)  and most importantly he let me know i wasn't alone and he would be there for me and my family!

in addition on our way to the hospital ( ya know up the mountain ) sirens, lights blaring, cars backed up, cars making u-turns, ect ( bad news ) - i don't know what it was, but it was something BIG and i assume horrific with the amount of lights i saw ahead - thankfully i knew the back roads to get where we needed to go and get my Mom to see the doctor - there was that reality check that set in at that moment, that IT CAN get worse! - something else CAN go wrong, BIGGER problems are out there, and COUNT your blessings!

Tuesday night and Wednesday were HARD for me - swollen eyes, sore throat, aching body, mind exhausted, soul felt empty - Thursday i had to 'go back into the world' and it wasn't easy - frequent trips to the bathroom to cry - driving from point A to point B in complete tears - any moment of that day i had to be with my thoughts - i was crying!

it wasn't till Thursday evening after my hair appointment ( which took me 30 mins to get out of my car b/c i couldn't stop crying and i didn't know how i would be around people  *side note: i don't like to show my emotions* ) on my way home - i realized that my Mom has been keeping such a strong face and going out of her way to make me happy - i got angry at myself that i could be so selfish - how can i be the one in tears? why is my Mom asking if i'm ok? - this should ALL be the other way around - the way it was when we first got the news in late November!

remember now, my Dad just had knee surgery, so his 'help' right now is very limited - i came home to a major turkey dinner my Mom made on her own - in the mist of the day going to doctors and running errands for my Dad - it was Thursday night that i said ENOUGH of the crying! - i gotta put my big girl pants back on and get my mind and soul back to being at peace! - i need to reorganize my thoughts, reorganize my responsibilities, reorganize my boundaries and make all this work!

my girls have been so supportive! - Adri (my soul mate best friend) has been ready and willing to do anything and everything, Krit has given' me every possible number to get a hold of her if i need anything or just to talk as well as constant 'thinking of you' texts, AnnMarie has sent me uplifting e-mails and acquiring updates and support, and Jax has let me know i wasn't alone and i'm in her prayers! ... THANK YOU GIRLS!!!! .. i can not thank all the people who have been there for me enough! - you all make my soul shine!

this is my "first" time outing this news - i still haven't told many people about what is going on - i know many of my family and friends read my blog as well as my 'blogger friends' - so this is a post to update everyone on what's going on with my life with regards to the new news on my Mom's cancer treatment
The Lowdown:
1.  first the news my Mom has breast cancer
2.  my sister-in-law and Niece are in a major-major car accident (a lot more to this)
3.  Ambulance at accident scene backs up into my car causing damage
4.  in the mist of all this my Dad is unable to walk b/c he is having tremendous knee pain
5.  my Mom can not keep food down and is in tremendous pain (trips to ER)
6.  Moving into my house (stress of buying furniture, TVs, food shopping, ect)
7.  my Mom has her breast cancer surgery which comes with a lot of ups and downs (pre and post)
8.  Mom rushed to ER again - gets gall bladder surgery next day (Christmas Eve)
9.  the responsibility of taking care of 2.5 households rest upon my shoulders now
10.  i host Christmas and the turkey gets done 2 hours early (wasn't done serving appetizers)
11.  i then become super Aunt taking and picking up my Niece from school and helping get my sister-in-law to the doctors (think taxi service but no tip <-- that's humor)
12.  gall bladder surgery still doesn't cure stomach pain, Mom still in tremendous amount of pain - can't eat normal yet
13.  Head to HomeGoods for a pick-me-up and a kid loses control of his truck and hits me (i was stopped at a red light)
14.  my Dad has knee surgery, which he needs to be in a hospital and not a surgery center b/c he is a high risk patient (a lot more to that story)
15.  then the news comes about the test results of Mom's tumor - how her count is VERY high
16.  oh and lets add all the snow i've had to shovel (2 houses, 3 cars, and 8 storms so far)
17.  getting my house put together, hooked up, and all the $$$
18.  2 week cruise cancelled
19.  having a tooth issue which is causing me to get sick, pain, and frustration
20.  awaiting to hear if my Mom's cancer is genetic or not
21.  Mom is also battling a bacterial infection they think she got while getting the gall bladder surgery
22.  i get a flat tire in the middle of all this

the list goes ON and ON - that's the scary/sad part of all of this!

i always try and keep positive and look at the best end of the stick, ya know 'glass half full' kind of a gal - even though i've been really pushed to the edge and the glass has been looking more then half empty lately - i know what i've been through in my past, and i know i can get through this - and in the end have a full bottle of bubbly! (can not wait to pop open that bottle and drink it all down myself!)

i'm missing a zillion other things that are going on with me right now - my mind is literally a mushy mess right now - my nerves are shattered - my life path has shifted - relationships have grown stronger as well as disintegrated - finding peace is challenging, but i make sure each day i get to that 'place' - i realize i am human and i'm allowed to breakdown, i made a pact with myself that if and when i let myself feel sorry for myself i also need to at that moment realize i have a lot to smile about as well!

so there you have it - hot off the blogger press - a depressing-sad post of events going on in my life - in the end tho - i am positive i can revisit this post and add REALLY great news - an entire post of unbelievable amazing positive happenings in my life (truthfully, through all of this, i have had some really amazing positive things happen as well) - THIS post just makes me realize that sometimes you gotta step back and say THING ARE OK!

things can ALWAYS be worse
there is ALWAYS going to be bad news out there
things ALWAYS get better
good news is ALWAYS right around the corner

you never want to believe it at the moment - but in the end it's always true!
Brighter days are ahead with greener fields!

to all the cancer survivors and loved ones - i'm officially in your 'club' - you guys are the sweetest people ever - even though i didn't want to join, i'm honored to join and fight!


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  1. Erika,
    My heart is heavy for you and your family. I'm sending you an e-mail this evening. My thoughts are with you.

  2. Whew, Erika....I don't even know what to say. I am now sitting here by myself bawling (also someone who doesn't show emotion to others)at all you have had and have to still go through. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family....prayers that better days are ahead. Stay strong but don't be afraid to cry.

  3. Erika, I cannot even begin to understand what this must feel like for you. You've got a huge support system here who are all thinking of you and your family. My thoughts and prayers are with you!!!

  4. That is quite alot, I am going to take the time to pray for you this very instant!


  5. erika.. sweetheart. we are next to strangers but im here for you. we all are. seriously, email me if you need to talk or.. just cry. please keep your head up. im sending you my best wishes and deepest love.


  6. Erika darling. I'm glad you try to keep as positive as possible. That's good. However, it's okay to feel frustrated, it's okay to feel sad, mad, crabby, low, and even angry at whoever you want to be angry at this moment. You are human. You have emotions and you are going through a lot. Yes, you will need to be strong for your mom, but you will be. Probably once you start processing and accepting what's happening, you'll begin to feel you can handle whatever comes. I've experienced similar things the past few years. They are not fun. But they sure make us stronger. I don't know how you feel really, but I've been following you for a while and you seem like a very strong person. What you are going through would be tough for anyone. You will be in my prayers, everyday. A big hug, darling.

  7. Erika, I am so terribly sorry. You have gone through so much in such a short amount of time. Not that any amount of time would be long enough, especially when a parent's life is so fragile. My heart and prayers go out to you that the sun will peak through the clouds very soon. If not now.

  8. Dear Erika,

    Im feeling so bad after reading all the tough situations that you've had to deal with simultaneously. And even though I can't be there to ease or share your troubles, you're in my prayers and I hope that God blesses you with good health and courage to go through these testing times and be there for your family. Pls remember tough times don't last but tough people do...and keep going.

    Take care sweetie, all will be well soon!

    My best wishes to your mom...


  9. Hi Erika,
    My heart goes out to you and is feeling very heavy this morning after reading your post. You are obviously the type of daughter/sister/auntie/friend who takes the troubles of the ones she loves and puts them right on her shoulders and in her back and slamming in her head... achie shoulders, sore back, throbbing head and insomnia are the side effects of this... I do it too! Oh, plus the crying... yes, this is the breaking point. I'm so sorry all of this is going on for you and your family right now. I really truly hope your mom's treatment goes as well as possible and she gets great news at the end!! I know chemo makes you feel awful and makes you lose your hair which, for a woman, is so frightening. I wish her and you and your family all the best in the months to come. You've created a blog family out here in cyber-space. I hope we can all be here for you when you need us! xo

  10. oh, my dear. i'm sorry for all this. i remember feeling pretty much the same last year, when my dad had is stroke the day we closed on our house.
    BUT. you are so amazing. i was a wallow-y mess for a huge amount of time. i'm so inspired by your positivity. and it's fantastic that your mom's doctor is so proactive. that's seriously excellent to have someone fighting so hard in your corner.

    sending as many happy, positive vibes your way, as the universe can handle.


  11. Erika,
    I have been in your place and feel your pain. The unknown is the worse, once we knew what we were doing or fighting it made life more managable. Keep your head up, take time to unload and have mental breaks. Sending you happy thoughts and well wishes.

  12. Oh Erika - I'm so sorry to hear how awful life is treating you these days. You sound like such an amazing person and your family is very lucky to have you helping out. Stay strong - I can only understand how hard it must be for you. You're in my thoughts and prayers!

  13. while I'm glad you have an amazing attitude (much better than mine would be!) I am so sorry about all of this. I truly hope things turn around for your mom. I'm sending the warmest thoughts your way!

  14. I am so sorry life has thrown you lemon after lemon of bad news. I can't imagine how you're feeling right now but I'm praying for you and your family. Lots of love & hugs.

  15. Erika,
    You are such a strong woman to go threw all these events. Keep your head up, remember to take time for yourself threw all this wether it's a night at home relaxing or going to get a massage to just free yourself from reality for a small period of time. I promise it helps (my dad was diagnosed with colon cancer when I was younger and had to learn to do this as well). It's a rough road but not impossible to travel down it. Keeping you in my prayers!!

  16. Oh dear I'm sorry to hear about your Mom. I wish you all the strength in the world to pull through all of this. Be strong girl and I'm glad you have some great friends that are helping you out.

  17. oh my sorry to hear that, really,

    pls write me anytime for support or call me (I am on skype, and u? look for ylenial )
    give me a call and we'll chat!

    Being positive is the best you can do. If you start been negative, all will fell apart.
    be strong and support everyone around you. You are strong and will find some strenght deep inside of you, I am sure! a sorce you will never think you had (sorry for my English!!)



  18. OK Erika, you've definitely had more than your share. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you at this time...

  19. Erika my darling sweetheart, you are always so good to everyone else.This must be such an incredibly hard time for you and your family. I am sending all the love and hugs and thoughts I can your way and to your mum.

    So much love xxxxx

  20. Oh Erika I'm so sorry to hear about all of this. Your amazing positivity still shines through! It's true that things could always be worse and it's a good way to put things perspective but it doesn't lessen that fact that what you're dealing with is stressful and hard in it's own right. I hope you are able to make some 'you' time here & there. And lean on us when you need to vent!


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