*Warning - This post is extremely long.*
1. My mom hadn't been in for her women's well visit in 9 years, but my brother was concerned about her health and pushed her to go, so she went. On Monday, July 2nd my mom had a biopsy done of a few calcifications the doctor found when she went in for a mammogram a few weeks prior. On Friday, July 6th she was diagnosed with lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS is pre-cancerous) in her right breast and with invasive lobular carcinoma (cancer) in her left breast.
My mom has breast cancer.
This is the first time I've said it (or written it) and I really wish I didn't have to. But this is her reality. This is our reality and I must accept it.
The past 2 weeks have been non-stop doctor's appointments, tests, and screenings. I'm so thankful that I've been able to go to each one with her, with the exception of one, and I'm dreading the thought of leaving my family in 2 weeks at such a difficult time. But as my dad and Joshua have been reminding me, life goes on. Life doesn't stop for cancer. If anything, I've realized that life pushes you through cancer, whether you want it to or not.
Obviously, we've all shed a few
You're the first people I've told, outside of my in-laws, so I think it feels more real now that I'm writing it out and seeing it all in one place. It's a good thing you can't see me right now because I'm still in my PJ's, haven't showered, and now I have red, poofy eyes.
Ready for Part 2? *deepbreath*
2. For those of you that don't already know, my little brother is a drug addict and alcoholic. He started smoking cigarettes at 12 years of age, smoking weed and drinking at 13, and was addicted to many hard drugs by 14.
I spent the greater parts of my last 3 years at home away from home, working, going to school, or hanging out with friends to avoid being around my brother. If he was at home, it meant he was coming off a high or going through withdrawal, which always led to miserable screaming, tantrums, fights, and throwing things. When he wasn't at home, he was either smoking something behind the school building or ditching school altogether to get high.
The fights occurring at home usually ended up with my brother running away (which resulted in the cops being called because he's a minor) or everyone yelling at each other, veins popping out of their necks (which, more often than not, also ended up with the police being called). So you can understand why I spent a lot of my time away from home.
My brother is not a bad person. The decisions he's made are bad and life-altering for him and those closest to him, but he is brilliant and a sweetheart at his core. And my parents are not bad parents. They are saints who raised us the better than I can say for some of my peers. However, the week before we had our vow renewal ceremony things got so bad that my brother ended up in a psychiatric ward and was only released to attend our ceremony (where he ended up getting high with my cousins - how I wish I could punch their faces in for that). Because my brother's addiction and behavior had become so extreme, my parents admitted him to a youth rehabilitation program about an hour away from home. It didn't work (for reasons related to the management of the facility, not my brother), so my parents took him out after a month and admitted him to a young men's 12-step rehabilitation center in Montana.
Elk Mountain Academy and its staff have been so incredibly good for my brother, for my parents, and for our family as a whole. While my brother has still not completed the program (because he's been slacking, to be honest), even after 16 months, my parents are bringing him home because they just can't afford to keep him there any longer. He'll be coming home August 9th, a week after his 17th birthday, right after Josh and I move, and just in time to start his junior year of high school.
In and of itself, Ian's transition home is a delicate situation and a huge change for everyone involved. He'll be attending school with and living in the same area as the people he used to use with, so his self-control will be tested on a daily basis and it will be very easy for him to revert to his old habits. The way things used to be? It just can't be like that anymore and all of us are going to have to change things and work hard to keep our family together.
Add Ian's transition home into my mom's cancer and all of the procedures she'll be going through, and it's just a horrible time to be moving away from my family again. My dad works almost 70 hours a week and my mom is, most likely, giving up her beloved job to be on full-time Ian-duty and to beat this cancer.
Suddenly, all of the "big" issues Josh and I have been dealing with recently seem invisible. It's been a very bumpy road, and I'm sure it will continue to be that way for a while, but I know in my heart of hearts that we'll get through and we'll be stronger for it in the end. Our lives have not been without major trials and heartaches in the past, and we've come out alive. We can do it again.
We WILL do it again.
*If you stuck through this post to the end, you're awesome. Thank you.*