My parents never told us life was fair. Even if they had, I wouldn’t have believed them, not after hearing two words that changed my life forever. Cancer. Breast cancer. I was only six when I first heard those words. Six. My biggest fears were falling off my bike and monsters under the bed. Mom was fighting to keep her boobs, and stay alive, while I was being a kid.
Breast Cancer Awareness is Personal to Me
She had a lumpectomy, lost her hair to chemotherapy, and spent weeks being nuked with radiation. She beat breast cancer, her best friend lost. The war wasn’t over, this was just Round one.
Round Two Breast Cancer Returns With a
Round two started in 1996. Breast cancer returned, and brought a friend, ovarian cancer. No longer a kid, I was terrified. Eight hours of sitting, pacing, and fidgeting in a waiting room, while a
surgeon magician removed tumors he compared to grapefruits and steaks.
Sitting in his office, a month after the surgery, he was rattling off statistics about survival rates. It wasn’t good news, but then Mom was a rare breed. Angry, afraid and confused, I didn’t want numbers or probabilities. Please just give me the facts!
How much time do we have with our Mom? I wanted to hug him for saving her life and shake him until he gave me the answers I wanted to hear.
Nothing about her cancer or her fight was in a text book. She signed up for more
poison chemotherapy. She fought fatigue, lost her hair, and spent endless days in doctor’s offices and at the hospital. Determination and her faith powered her fight, and she won Round two.
Round Three Breast Cancer Delivers a Knockout
2001 her cancers returned with a vengeance. A mammogram led to a biopsy, and the doctor said, “Its time to get your affairs in order.” No idea, how Mom held it together after hearing those words. Really, I don’t know how she wasn’t ranting, raving and throwing an epic fit of “Why me?”
They described the tumor in her breast as “the size of a golf ball”. It was aggressive. It had spread…and it wasn’t going away this time.
We fought. We found the best doctors, ran every test, got second opinions and Mom fought back. I never saw her blame anyone. Even when I was angry about the hours we spent waiting in depressing doctor’s offices, she stayed strong. It sucks to spend the last months of your life waiting. I wanted to take her to see the world, not sit in an uncomfortable chair and look at bone scans.
I cringed as the nurses stuck her over and over again, in search of a vein to carry the toxins. I tried to find my sense of humor, and make her laugh, provide a distraction from the crappy reality. And I said to myself, I could never fight like my Mom. I don’t want to sit in a chair every week, and let chemicals run through my veins. I don’t want my hair to fall out, food to taste funny, or feel like my insides are on fire. Cancer can beat me, because I WON’T fight back.
But now I’m a Mom of two amazing children. I’m a daughter that misses her mother every single day. And a Mom, that never wants her children to know how that feels. She wasn’t there when I walked down the aisle. She’s never held her grandchildren. I can’t call her when I’m sad, or sick, or trying to figure out how to manage my amazing kids that have become possessed with mischief.
Its no longer a choice, if I am ever diagnosed with cancer I will fight! My wish, is that my children never have to hear those words. Watching my Mom suffer on and off for thirty years was tough. Watching the life drain out of my Mom in her final two weeks was agonizing, and something I don’t want anyone to ever experience!
Cancer won Round 3 in 2005
Help Me Knock Out Breast Cancer
So, I’m fighting now, but can’t do it alone. This is the first year I’ve organized a team in the Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure. Our team, the Boot Scootin’ Boobies, are walking on October 5 in Houston. Can you help us raise money to find a cure?
Please, skip the Starbucks this week, or eat leftovers two nights in a row, and give a $1 for the fight against breast cancer. I feel like some of us have become “immune” to cancer. The diagnosis is so widespread, and depending on the type and stage, people beat cancer everyday. The result: we’ve become lax & complacent. DON’T, because until we beat cancer, the next victim could be you, your spouse, your mother, your daughter, or your son.