Apr 8, 2015
A Quick Update
You may or may not have noticed my absence around the blog this past week. If you're a member of The Peony Project, or if you follow me on social media, then you might have heard this news already, but if not, I felt like maybe I should catch you up on where I've been. Because I know that at least for me, if a blogger I follow disappears for a little while, I start to wonder what's going on. I'm nosy like that.
So here's a quick update on what's been happening lately:
Two weeks ago, my mom went to the eye doctor for a routine eye exam. She had been experiencing a blind spot in the top of her left eye and figured it was something to do with her contacts, but decided to get her yearly check-up and mentioned it to her doctor. Her optometrist diagnosed it as a detached retina and sent her directly to an ophthalmologist, who did some tests and then gave us news we weren't ready for: my mom had a melanoma tumor in her eye.
For those of you who don't know my family's story, two years ago, my dad was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. He has never been a smoker and we honestly thought it was either just bronchitis or pneumonia. He's doing well now, the cancer is stable and he's on a few different medications that we hope will keep it that way for a long time. But it's still cancer. So getting a second shocking cancer diagnosis in two years was a bit much and kind of hard to even understand how it was happening.
We immediately scheduled an appointment for the following Monday at WillsEye Hospital in Philadelphia, where my mom was to see Dr. Carol Shields, one of the world's best ocular oncologists. I spent that weekend in North Carolina visiting Madison (of The Wetherills Say I Do), and then came home on Palm Sunday and on Monday, woke up and drove my parents down to Philly for what turned out to be a 9.5-hour appointment of tests. When we left Wills on Monday afternoon, we had a definite diagnosis - a pea-sized tumor inside my mom's left eye - and a treatment plan in place.
Last Thursday, we sent my dad to work (he works as an aircraft mechanic at the Philadelphia International Airport), and then my mom, my aunt, and I traveled back to Wills for treatment. Thursday morning, my mom had surgery to implant a nickel-sized plaque into her eye. This plaque would deliver radiation to the tumor and stop it's growth, and eventually, kill it. Because of the way the treatment works, she was required to stay in a hotel in Philly all weekend, before reporting back to Wills on Monday morning to have the plaque removed. Obviously, this wasn't the way my mom had hoped to spend her Easter weekend. She's the director of volunteers at our church, and had coordinated over 100 volunteers to help with our 4 weekend services, so she wanted to be there to greet them!
But instead, she was stuck in a hotel she couldn't leave, and my dad stayed down with her all weekend. On Sunday night, my brother and his fiancé, Natalie, as well as AJ and I went down to visit them and had chinese food and pizza for our Easter dinner. Needless to say it's an Easter we won't soon forget.
I'm happy to report that my mom is home and the hardest part of this journey is behind us. She still has to see an oncologist to confirm that the cancer hasn't spread, and she'll need to be followed by that oncologist for life, but her liver enzymes look great and so we're believing that this cancer is done and over with!
Thanks for your prayers for my family over these last two weeks. It's been a crazy time and frankly, I'm not yet fully recovered from it emotionally or physically, but I do hope to be back to blogging daily soon. In the meantime, I'll try to post as often as I'm able and I hope that you'll keep coming by this space and saying hi!