Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Breast Cancer & My Mom

On March 18, 2010 my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. I remember the phone call from the doctor's office telling her she needed to come in to discuss the test results from her latest mammogram. Right then I knew something was wrong. The doctor never tells you to come in and "talk" if it isn't something serious. My mom went to her appointment and I sat at home worrying about what could be wrong. Maybe it was a benign tumor? Maybe just a shadow on the x-ray? Maybe it was a cyst? It couldn't possibly be cancer, right? I mean, no one in my family has had breast cancer before. My mom was so healthy! It was probably just a mistake - a miscalculation on the doctor's part. I tried to forget about it.

Then she came home. My mom quietly came to my bed room door and told me they found a malignant tumor on her left breast. It was cancer. I was speechless. She went into her room and softly cried in her bathroom. I sat there stunned. How could this have happened? What did this mean? A thousand thoughts and questions raced through my head. I immediately went online to google as much information as I could.

That was then. Today, nearly 9 months later, my mom continues to fight the toughest battle of her life. She has undergone countless tests, two lumpectomies, and, when those didn't succeed in completely eliminating the cancerous tumor that spread like a dandelion in her left breast, a total mastectomy. She has endured monthly chemotherapy sessions which have left her weak, nauseous, and in a considerable amount of muscle pain. She has lost a lot of weight, and her hair (which she used to fuss and preen over so much) has completely fallen out.  My mom's aggressive form of cancer spread rapidly from the first diagnosis. It metastasized from it's original location in the breast through several lymph nodes, resulting in a much tougher course of treatment. Thankfully, after several more tests, the doctors determined it had not spread to any other major organs.

To say 2010 was the worst year of my mom's life would probably be an understatement. She has recently finished her chemotherapy rounds (and happily rang the cancer bell at the end of her sessions), and has now started radiation to combat the cancer. What strikes me the most is how positive my mom has been throughout this whole ordeal. Not once has she broken down and asked, "why me?" Not once has she given up and refused to leave her bed or go to treatments. My mom has remained completely strong, with the attitude that she will beat this disease and she will live a long, happy, healthy life afterwards. Even at her worse, with her beloved blonde hair falling out in clumps and her arms and legs throbbing from the harsh treatments, she still kept smiling and going about her day-to-day activities.

Programs such as Look Good, Feel Better http://lookgoodfeelbetter.org/ have provided my mom with the tools to improve her self esteem and quality of life while battling with cancer. Other friends and family around me have been so supportive of my mom and my family. It's been a hard time for everyone, but with such love and well wishes from all, I know it makes my mom feel a thousand times better.

I am so blessed to have such an inspiring woman in my life. I know if I was put in the same position I probably wouldn't have half the courage and drive that she has. Life has thrown many curve-balls at my mom this year, but she keeps courageously knocking them out of the park.

I don't know what the future holds for my mom. Each night I pray that she gets well again so she can go back to living a life devoid of pain, frustration and helplessness. She deserves all the best in life and it pains me so much to see her struggling with such a ruthless disease. I won't lie and say I haven't been selfish in this whole ordeal. I want more than anything to have my mom attend my wedding, see my newborn baby, visit my new home and tell me how to properly be a good wife and mother. I want my mom to be in my future for as long as possible, and it breaks my heart to think such a cruel disease will tear her away from all that.

But, since the future is so unknown and unpredictable, I can only say that my mom has been such a huge inspiration for me. She has given me such a positive role-model to look up to and I love her with all my heart. I am so proud of her. If I can only be half the woman she is in the future, I'll be happy. <3

- Jennie


  1. That's a truly inspiring story. I'm very sorry your mom (and you and your whole family!) have had to go through this.

    Hopefully the new year will bring much better things!

  2. Thanks so much! I definitely hope so :)