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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 fiancĂ©, 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!

34 comments:

  1. So great to hear this update and that your mom is recovering well! Praying that this continues to be a part of your mom's PAST!

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  2. Praying for complete healing for your family! Physically, emotionally... Have an amazing rest of your week.

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  3. Oh man, that's so scary! Praying for your mom and family for continued strength.

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  4. I'm so sorry to hear this. I'm glad she is doing better and that they seemed to have caught it quickly. I'm praying for you and your family.

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  5. Our Thanksgiving was like that last year. We spent it in the hospital. It was hard but sobering to be experiencing the holiday in a totally different way. We were thankful for doctors, for life, for God's overwhelming love and peace in the midst of chaos. I hope your Easter was memorable in the fact that He rose - it is finished. The sin and pain on this earth will not prevail. I pray you saw light and grace in a whole new way and it blessed your heart even in the midst of trials!


    If you are feeling in the mood for a good cry but great encouragement, you should listen to Lara Story Blessings.


    I love you girl!

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  6. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

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  7. You are a wonderful daughter, Betsy. I can't even imagine getting that kind of diagnosis though I know it's a possibility for everyone really. Prayers to you and your family.

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  8. Thanks for sharing this update. A family member had a detached retina and it's incredibly scary to not be able to help. Meg of An Affair of Character

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  9. Wow! Your family had been through a lot in a short time. I've been absent on fb, so i missed it in the peony group. I will be adding you and your family to my prayer list.

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  10. Thanks for the update, lady! I have been thinking and praying about you and your family!

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  11. Aaah, I'm so sorry to hear all this, girl!! You're all in my prayers xx

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  12. I'm so sorry you've been dealing with this. My mom has been battling brain cancer for almost a year now. It's hard. There's not other way to describe cancer. Praying for you and your family!

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  13. So glad your mom seems to be doing well considering. You guys have been in my thoughts and prayers <3

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  14. PRAYING for you and yours! Please, keep us updated :]

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  15. How is your mom's sight in that eye? When my mom had the radiation surgery 20 years ago, it got rid of the cancer completely, but it also killed her eye...it's a different color now and she can't see out of it at all. But, she says that her sight in her right eye is a small price to pay for her life.

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  16. Oh my gosh,.... I'm so very sorry to hear about both your mom and dad. Both sides of my family have been badly effected by cancer so I know how hard it is to deal with. I'm glad to hear both of your parents are doing well now and I hope they continue to do even better. <3

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  17. Yeah, that's what my mom has said! She's made peace with the fact that she could lose her vision....she even was ready for them to remove her eye if that was necessary. So far she just has double vision in that eye (which is supposed to heal as her eye heals), but they did tell us that she could experience vision loss over time, so I guess we'll just wait and see. They're going to be giving her Avastin shots over the next two years that are supposed to help preserve her sight. I think our biggest concern now is just that this treatment worked and that the cancer never spreads anywhere else. She already saw an oncologist at Penn and will be followed pretty closely over the next decade or more, so I feel good that they're being aggressive in monitoring her!

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  18. Oh Brita, that's so hard. My dad's cancer metastasized to his brain twice, and thankfully they were able to successfully treat it both times, but the brain is a scary thing. I'll be praying for your mom!

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  19. Yeah, it's been a crazy few weeks, and a nutty few years! Thanks!

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  20. It's definitely scary! I wish that all it was was a detached retina. That initial diagnosis was scary enough, but then when the doctor told us that she had a tumor, it hit me like a ton of bricks. :(

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  21. Thanks friend. It's an insane thing to hear a doctor tell you, honestly. I wish no one ever had to go through it!

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  22. Amen Laura! Thanks for being there, friend. :)

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  23. It was a very memorable holiday, for more reasons than one. But there is so much peace in knowing that Christ conquered the grave and that this Earth is not our home! Thanks Beth! I'll definitely look that up and give it a listen!

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  24. Thanks friend! It is definitely scary, but so encouraging to have great doctors nearby

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  25. Thanks Madison...and amen! We're putting it behind us - for good!

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