The C word. We were not allowed to say it for the longest time in my household. Cancer. It sucks. It dangerous. It crushes families. It crushes dreams. It is something that should not be taken lightly. I have been dreading writing this post, but I know that someone will read it and get hope for their journey they are going through.
I remember my mothers phone call like it was yesterday. I was a hot July day and my mother and I were sitting on our couch when her phone rang. She got “the call.”
My family and I did not know what to do. We haven’t ever dealt with this before and we never thought we would have to. Breast cancer is environmental, which we did not know at the time. 1 in every 8 American women who live to be 85 years of age will get breast cancer at some point in their life, that is about 12% of women. Self diagnosis and yearly check ups can help lower that rate.
In honor of my mother and to help raise awareness, I dyed my hair pink.
I thought I would share with you from my mothers words how she felt that day and a letter to herself.The following was written by my mother.
It was an ordinary day. I got into my nice morning shower with not a care in the world. Nothing was on my mind, but that I was ready to start the day. While I was bathing, I felt a golf ball size lump of soft tissue on the side of my breast. I kept bathing and tried to ignore it. I ignored it for 2 weeks but it did not go away. Then things started drifting into my mind. Could it be? Could I have cancer? I couldn’t wait to see the doctor soon enough to get a mammogram. They took lots of pictures but then after that they did a sonogram and some tissue biopsies. The doctor thought, “I’m sure you will be fine, he said.”
I sat for 3 very long days and then the dreaded phone rang. When I heard my doctors voice on the other end, I knew my life was changed. Doctors usually don’t call, the receptionist do. I was 53 years old, how could this be happening?He explained to me that I had a estrogen grown malignant tumor. They were having it sent off to be genetically tested. To see exactly how to get it our of my body the easiest but safest way. My living room began to over pour with my family. I was a wreck to say the least. What was going to happen to my children? A few days went by and I was put into surgery for lumpectomy with lymph nodes removed as well. My whole family came up to the hospital to support me. They made shirts written in pink “ZAZA’S BARBIE ARMY!’ Zaza is my grandma name. I will never forget how proud they made me that day. They had so much hope that I was going to be fine and kept me strong. Luckily, I came home right after. Then in 2 days later, I had a mammosite played inside my breast where they could shoot seeds in through multiple little tubes to kill only the tumor and save tissue around it. My baby daughter that had just graduated helped changed bandages everyday and was my nurse for the next few weeks. My whole family visited me everyday and helped with their words of encouragement. They were not giving up on me even on days I thought I wouldn’t make it.
Because of the type of tumor I had, I also had to have a hysterectomy because of 3 huge cyst growing, and they didn’t want them turning into cancer as well. Once you have one type of cancer your body has a higher chance of getting a different type of cancer. So I was forced into surgical menopause which did not help with the recovery of having breast cancer.
That surgery really changed who I was with no hormones now in my body and having to take estrogen blockers to keep tumors away which was hard on my emotions. It has been 7 years and I am still clear, but every 6 months I cringe when I walk into that doctors office. If I didn’t have the team of doctors and my families support I would be no where today. The most important fact I learned is that it is true about being aware of your body. Know the signs your body is telling you, be aware. The concern my family had for me I knew I had to be a fighter. You are the only one that knows your body, so listen. There is a reason it is called breast cancer awareness. You have to be the one aware. I love my family so much and I thank my heavenly father for letting me be strong through a trial. My family was my army and I love and thank them for that.
If you know someone or you are going through this life trial right now, all I can say is stay strong. Find your army in life to stand beside you and help you get through this trial. Time will pass. Whatever the outcome, stay strong and know that God has a plan for everything even though sometimes we don’t always like it. No matter how many sorry’s are told to you in a day it will not change how you feel deep down, but know that there is a tribe behind you helping you. Susan G. Komen has been an amazing corporation and has donated over $2.6 Billion dollars in groundbreaking research.
If you would like to donate money and help raise money for research you can donate here.