Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Boobs and Breast Cancer

Since January 2009 this blog has been focused on parenting an addict. Everything was written from our personal experience. Over this time we learned many lessons, some of them valuable and some very painful. Through it all we always tried to remain focused on a simple question, "What have I learned?" That simple mission is much harder than it seems.

Many of you faithful readers have seen I write less and less. There isn't the drama in our life from drugs and addiction as it was once. We stay involved in the community and I still answer emails and calls. My mission to help others remains strong but for the time being, I don't know for how long, the subject of my blog will change.

The title will remain the same however I will work to find ways to match search links to another subject in addition to drugs, parenting and addict and addiction.

The posts on our blog will now be focused on another member of our family.

"Mom" aka Darlene has been diagnosed with a large tumor and five small tumors in her breast.

One tumor about the size of a thumbnail and there are 5 other very suspicious looking small tumors. In the opinion of two doctors, "Of course, without a biopsy we cannot be sure the large tumor is malignant but all indications from the MRI leads to that conclusion by both of us. The 5 smaller spots are very suspicious and I am very wary of those spots. With your family history, we should look at a complete mastectomy as soon as possible."


The beast of cancer is a family nemesis. The women in mom's family have all fought this battle, breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Most have lost their fight. Mother's, Aunts, cousins; they fought and lost, all gone way too early in life, gone carrying a heart full of love.

Due to a very troubled family history Darlene had a genetic test done and she came back negative for the BRKA gene but positive for the CHEK2 gene. Genetically, this is not good. In fact the results came back as a 26-48% chance of breast or colon cancer after the age of 60 and with each successive 5 years of life the percentage rising. Darlene is 57 now.

Today mom's sister is fighting her own battle. She was a 9 year breast cancer survivor but the beast attacked again. On March 25 we celebrated with an "End of Chemo" party for her sister. The chemo is done, now the wait.

On Tuesday, March 24 Darlene went in for an MRI. With her family history mammograms are regular every 6 months but the doctors say they are not enough, MRI's and Ultrasounds are also a part of the diagnostic toolbox. On Thursday, March 26 the day after her sisters celebration the cancer doctor called with an urgency in his voice. The MRI did not show a clear and clean picture. A "mass" was discovered that wasn't there last October during her last mammogram. Darlene's instructions were to call her OB/GYN surgeon immediately. On the following Monday she went to see the OB/GYN doctor. The news was not good.

Today mom had a doctor appointment today with a plastic surgeon. The OB/GYN surgeon and the plastic surgeon must coordinate their schedules for Darlene. 

Soon, in the middle of May, Darlene will be suffering the physical and emotional pain of a complete mastectomy of both breasts. At that time we will know if the tumors are cancerous. 

If the tumors are malignant then other appropriate treatments with be employed, chemo, radiation of whatever the doctors recommend. If they are benign then we can rest assured that the beast of breast cancer will not be a threat the rest of her life.

Darlene will have all the love of a family around her that she can stand but once again we are in a place of very little knowledge and no experience.

The lessons of parenting an addict will serve us well. We learned to appreciate each day what we have instead of living a life bemoaning about what we don't. 

You all know Dad, aka Ron, a recovering control freak. I may be tested but I will not break. Hopefully all of you that supported us in the past can find it in yourself to once again support us on another unknown journey.

Darlene and I have decided to be completely open about this journey just as we learned to be about our last journey. We will continue to chronicle our journey on this blog with hopes that every woman reading this will always perform their self checks and get regular mammograms. For every man reading this we hope you will remind those women in your life that you love them and to make sure they are checked often and regularly. 

If you are reading and searching for support about parenting and addict, you are not alone, we are still here for you. If you are searching for support about breast cancer and how this family is coping, we are not alone either.


20 comments:

Bristolvol said...

Ron, I am sorry about mom's diagnosis. Cancer, like addiction, does not discriminate. Hoping for the best possible outcome and praying that the tumors are benign. Thank you for sharing your story.

Shelley Farquharson said...

Hi Darlene and Ron. Sending prayers of support to both of you. Keep telling yourselves that "a breast cancer diagnosis is not a death sentence." Treatments for breast cancer have and continue to improve. So glad that you have each other to travel 'side by side with during "this journey". Cancer is a diagnosis that affects the whole family. Love and support to your family.
-A Blog Reader in Saskatchewan, Canada
Shelley F.

madyson007 said...

I am so sorry to hear this news. You are both in my prayers as always...

Bar said...

Ron and Darlene, I am sorry to hear your news but feel hopeful that the mastectomy will allow her to live a long and happy life.

Lisa said...

Your openness and honesty is to be applauded, especially in the time frame when you have more questions than you have answers. You, Darlene and the rest of your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

Becky V said...

Love you both and praying for you. This will be another tough journey for you both and I hate that. Hugs from Texas and please know that God is still large and in charge. Xxoo

Tori said...

I am so sad to read this Ron. You and Darlene are in my thoughts and prayers.

Geord1955 said...

You have been through so much with the addiction first and NOW this. It's a problem many of us face and must go through bravely but hopefully with a comforting hand to hold!! Good luck to you both and to your son who would still be suffering! There's NO END to an addiction unfortunately!!! Take care...��������

Dave Warner said...

Ron, I'm so sorry to hear of this. My prayers for Darlene and your entire family. Dave

Anonymous said...

Ron, So sorry that this has happened. Sending Darlene healing thoughts and hopes for a good outcome. Holly

Liz said...

Ron and Darlene, My prayers are with you both.

Sue Magoo 8 said...

I am going to be praying for strength of your family and for Darlene. Both of you are absolutely wonderful human beings. I love you, and I pray for the doctors, nurses, and ALL involved in this journey.
Susan

Annette said...

Oh Ron and Darlene, I'm so sorry you are going through this. But as always you are not alone...we are with you in spirit and holding you both in our hearts. ❤️

Courtsmom said...

This makes me so sad. I'm sorry the two of you have another difficult journey ahead of you. The love you have for each other is evident and will carry you through once again. Best wishes.
Sherry

Lisa said...

I am really sorry to hear this Ron. This is so unfair. Both you and Mom will be in my thoughts.

Syd said...

Ron, I am sorry that Darlene will be going through this. My mother was a survivor. And my wife had a mastectomy in 1995, at a much younger age than my mother. Fortunately, she has been clear since then. I hope that Darlene will recover and also have no further problems. Hang in there. I know you both can get through this with the love that you have for each other.

Dor said...

I had numerous tumors in my breast, and they did core biopsies the day of the mammo to confirm malignancy. I was 45 and had 14 months of chemo and radiation, due to the cancer spreading to numerous lymph nodes. All through this, my son was starting his addiction, but I was unaware. I am 6 years in survival, and my son is 2 years in recovery. Cancer was not the hardest battle I had to face, addiction was. I was determined to do everything possible for the cancer, but the addiction I had no control over. Darlene is strong and will fight her disease with tons of family support.

Hattie Heaton said...

Prayers for both of you.

Laura said...

I'm so sorry to see you two are dealing with this also. My prayers for you both.

Tracy said...

I am so sorry about the diagnosis. I wish Darlene all the best and love to you both and your family.