last week, I celebrated momma b’s 66th bday with her. (momma b is the name I use to refer to my significant other’s mum.) I know few people with hearts of gold and she’s one of them. a nurse by profession and passion, she commits her life to helping others. not just at her job as director of a home health care agency but at her church, in her neighborhood, with her family and anywhere else she might be needed. momma b doesn’t hesitate to lend a helping hand, ear or voice.
if it were not for momma b, my ‘stubborn-for-no-reason’ grandfather would not have gone to the doctor to get some much-needed tests done on his heart which lead to (almost immediate) bypass surgery which lead to complications and a long, worrisome hospital stay. at one point, his doctor even spoke of considering whether to resuscitate. his hospital stay was followed by months of rehabilitation before he was finally able to return home. that was two years ago and he’s been home for over a year and a half now, dramatically improved and thankful to be alive.
but while celebrating momma b’s 66th bday, we looked at each other and said, “can you believe what a year it’s been?“
see, one year ago today, we were optimistically tho sadly battling her stage-three breast cancer diagnosis from december 2010. she’d found a lump under her arm and had some tests done before telling anyone. she’d been traveling for work and wanted to know more about her condition beforehand, but she told her children and me a few days after christmas. we were shocked and terribly scared. the questions, the confusion, the tears. at 65, she was fit and always on the go, ate healthy and lived a smoke-free, alcohol-free lifestyle. it didn’t help that her doctors wanted to cut right-away, without much discussion. I wanted to help so I went to work researching options for a second-opinion and providing her with more natural alternatives to personal care products she’d been using. she asked her doctor for a week to think about her surgical choices and used that week to reach out to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, and THAT is where EVERYTHING changed.
the Cancer Treatment Centers of America made a point to involve her family at the very beginning. I found this comforting and important. cancer is scary and support is key. from the first conversation, after she was qualified for care at the CTCA, she was asked to bring her family along to make sure we were all aware of her options and overall process. I was blown away by the facility and the kindness shown by everyone there, from the front-desk clerks to her surgical doctor. we sat in on the registration process, her first meeting with her doctor and nutritionist, they even provided us with copies of her daily agenda during her stay so we would know where she was at all times in case we chose to visit. they were all amazing. I wish everyone stricken with this awful disease could benefit from their process, we are most thankful for them, that is for sure.
I’ll share more about momma b’s amazing experience at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in a later post, but as we celebrate another blessed birthday with her, she feels good, looks great and has strictly followed doctor’s orders.
she’s even gotten used to having white hair, which looks pretty sassy on her if I do say so myself, opting not to dye it red which was her signature color for over 30 years.
in may 2011, momma b had surgery to remove the cancerous tumors followed by radiation and chemotherapy. her regular check-ups show she is cancer free now. yes, my god, what a year it’s been!