For those who don't know, I come up with weird nicknames for my loved ones. My mom happens to be Yemma. She called my husband on Wednesday evening to let him know that she had been admitted to the hospital for severe abdominal pain that was probably due to kidney stones. She told him not to worry me at work, but he knows me - I would have been more upset if I hadn't known until the next day. So he called and told me and I prayed and, I'll admit it, worried all night.
The next afternoon, I woke up to a message from her saying that they wanted to keep her another night to run more tests. Almost immediately I felt like I should be up there with her. I called work and told them I wouldn't be there, then drove up to St. Louis and got in around 10pm.
The next morning, I came downstairs (I had stayed with my grandparents) and started walking toward my grandma's bathroom, explaining that I'd gotten nail polish all over my hand and needed to borrow some remover. She said, "Sit down first."
"Honey, all signs are pointing to ovarian cancer." And there it was. I was surprised at how not surprised I was. Of course, the thought had briefly crossed my mind and it was crazy to hear it affirmed, but thankfully God gave me immediate peace. There was no moment like you see in the movies when the character realizes something major and the camera zooms in on his/her face, making everything else "rush" by (or however that works - Ryan explained it to me once, but I've forgotten). I don't remember what I said, but I think "Okay" was the first word that came out of my mouth.
We went to the hospital and my mom was shocked into oblivion at the sight of me walking through the door of her room. She muttered, "Does she know?" to my grandpa out of the corner of her mouth. "Yes, I know," I replied. She and I agreed that we need to remind ourselves that God is in control and His plans are better than ours, even if they're not always what we want.
Let me pause here and say that I deserve ZERO credit for my attitude. It is 100% God-given; I am still flummoxed as to how I've kept my cool. Of course I've had my terrified, devastated, "imaginative" moments like any of us would, but in general I've had an overwhelming peace with this so far. I've always been envious of people who can recall defining moments when they could feel God right there with them, but now I have one too. He is right by our sides and will never, ever leave. It is ONLY by His grace that my mom and I aren't totally neurotic. We are praying that through this situation, God will show our loved ones and mere acquaintances alike who He is and what He can do. I'm telling you, this stuff is real.
Anyway, Mom's doctor came by later that afternoon to give us the scoop. They are pretty sure it started in her ovar(y/ies) and spread to her omentum, which is the (nasty) layer of fatty tissue that lies over the intestines. On Wednesday, a highly recommended oncologist surgeon will do a complete hysterectomy and remove all the cancer she can see/feel. Right now this is what we are focusing on, and we will hear what the doctor found and go from there. It looks like she will have a round of chemo about six weeks after surgery, but that is a tentative plan right now. It would probably be localized - she will have some kind of catheter that goes into her abdomen and the chemo will be injected straight into it instead of going all throughout her body. Whether this means she will still lose her hair, I am not certain. Again, right now we're trying to just focus on Wednesday and praying that it goes well.
Let me just say that I am so incredibly humbled by the outpouring of love, prayers and compassion we have received. We have heard from people with whom we've been out of contact for years. Of course, that fact can make the "c" word a little scarier given how seriously people must be taking it if they're making contact all of a sudden, but we are just so grateful for everyone's response to this. Thank you so much for every expression of concern, for every positive message, for every prayer sent up for my mom and for our family.
It was a little hard to leave today, but I know that my mom is in good hands. She has strong faith and a HUGE support system of incredible friends. When I called her this afternoon to let her know I'd arrived safely home, she was eating lunch and watching a movie with two friends. I'm so glad she's not alone.