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When I allow myself the rare glance backward to the dark early days of my cancer "journey," the memories around the core needle biopsy when my lump went from "probably nothing" to something deadly still have a sharp sting. Even though I had five surgeries that repeatedly cut away at my chest until there was nothing left, snipped and pulled my ovaries out through laparoscopic holes in my belly, and even a clean slice that took my uterus above the cervix, none of those procedures caused physical pain thanks to blissful drug-induced unconsciousness. But a hollowed out, fat ass needle with a pierce and cut mechanism housed inside that snaps loudly and excises tubular bits of tumor flesh while you are wide awake watching it happen was the pinnacle of pain for me, in part because I'm slow to numb and they didn't wait long enough before starting and also due to the visible horror on the faces of the radiologist and nurse as the picture of my tumor was frozen on the ultrasound screen and the cluster of rogue cells was stabbed, over and over again, as my still milk-filled breasts leaked in unison with blood from the excisional hole and my tears as we all apprehended the dire news that was to come. No wonder I leave that day filed away, deep in the old memory bank.
So cut to nearly a dozen years later, and there is my mom who so bravely tied my baby to her back Korean-style and cooked and cared for me while I underwent treatment for breast cancer now lying on the table, prepped and ready for her own core needle biopsy. A routine mammogram had come back suspicious, and she was immediately scheduled for next level diagnostics. I sat next to her while we waited for the procedure to start, the ultrasound photo of her irregularly shaped black blob resting deep against her chest wall, surrounded by a sea of healthy breast tissue, frozen on screen, staring us in the face.
Cary: among all of your other amazing gifts you are a very talented writer that needs to be heard by the masses. It appears you regret being diagnosed first (like Jen) but I can assure you that your mother and myself would have traded places with you girls in a heartbeat. That said, you and Jen gave us a road map we could follow. You are very strong, powerful woman that have shown us how to kick cancer’s butt. Mama Kim is in good hands. Sending warm hugs and prayers.
We love you so much and are once again in awe at the grace and humility in which you handle pain. Stay strong, Holcombs.
So sorry to read about your mom’s diagnosis. We wish her good luck with everything. You both will be in our thoughts and prayers.
Hugs to you! Love hearing from you but these stories suck
Incredible writing Cary. Two strong women, brutal honesty. FUncancer is right , she will beat this just like you!
The feelings expressed are brutally honest and yet beautiful. Know my prayers go out to Mama Kim and your family as you all go through it. Much has improved in terms of care over recent years so hoping her journey to heath will be better than yours. As always, wishing this evil disease did not come exist. Love you
Cary, I am so sorry to read this news. If anyone can be a cheerleader against this friggin disease, it’s you! Mama Kim is lucky to have you. She will be a fighter like you. Your kind words were so helpful to me during my battle, and I’m sending hugs and prayers😘
Cary! Love and hugs to you and your mom. I am here. I am thinking of you all and you are so strong, beautiful and amazing. You are so articulate and your words reach all of us. You have shifted the universe in so many ways -even if you don’t realize it yet. You’ve touched many many lives and your mom has too. Sending energy and strength and love!
Beautifully written, my thoughts and prayers are with you!
Cary, I’m speechless. I had a different type of abyss to fall into with my mum before I’d even finished my own treatment…. but somehow it was different. Different treatment, tests and cancer.
This for you, your girls and your own mum must just be the most painful and difficult. I’ve no doubt that all out warfare will be declared and you will face this beast with stoicism and bravery and sheer bloody mindedness. Much love sent to you, always xxx
Cary, I am so sorry to hear this news about your Mom. I can think of no one better to be by her side, no better advocate, during this journey. Love to you both 💞