So, most people that read this already know that my mom has cancer. She was diagnosed recently with Multiple Myeloma. This is a cancer of the blood that is incurable, but treatable. Last week she had an appointment with a transplant doctor who told her that she is a good candidate for an autologous stem cell transplant. They will take her own stem cells from her blood, giver her a massive amount of chemotherapy to kill everything in her body, and replace her stem cells. She will spend about three weeks in the hospital in October, then another month at home staying away from everyone who has cooties. This treatment should give her 3-5 years where she does not have to do anything else to control this disease. When they harvest her stem cells, they will take enough to do about three transplants. That way in 3-5 years they can do another transplant to give her 3-5 more years.
She had a lot of questions answered for her at that appointment. While she cannot have visits from anyone who is sick, as this treatment will completely destroy her immune system, as long as we're healthy, we can all visit her. Including the babies. I'm sure that spending some long boring days in the hospital will be cheered greatly by seeing her grandchildren. About six days after the transplant, she will lose all her hair. She has decided to shave her head, so that her hair isn't falling out in clumps. All of her children have also decided to shave our heads with her. And her husband. Solidarity, sister! We'll have fun picking out some scarves and a few kicky berets to wear until it grows back. She's decided against spending all the money for a wig to wear for such a short amount of time.
So, the doctors have a great outlook on her case. She was diagnosed early and is responding very well to the chemo cycles she's done so far. All her numbers they track are going in the right directions.
It's been probably the toughest thing I've had to deal with in my life. While her prognosis is good, it's really hard for me to think about the possibility of losing her. I never thought about the possibility that my children wouldn't have the chance of knowing her. She's always been so strong for me. Most days I can focus on how well she's doing, but there's still just this underlying fear in the back of my head. It's just that word - cancer. I can say "My mom is having a transplant" with no problems. It's just when that one word comes out - cancer - that I choke up. The Big C is scary.