Tuesday, January 1, 2013

My Reason

  The decision to start this blog has been difficult. I have gone back and forth with emotions on whether I should share something so personal, with anyone who wants to read my story. I am only beginning this journey, but my background is what makes this decision an easy one. I should start with telling everyone why I am willing to undergo such an extreme decision. I lost my mother when I was twenty five years old. She passed away in 2010, only a few months after I has my son Broderick (whom we named after my mother). At twenty seven, the loss of my mother is still the most painful thing I have ever gone through, and continue to struggle with on a daily basis. People say missing someone gets easier. It doesn't. Missing my mother will never get easier, its just the time that passes, that makes life go on. I have to keep going on, because I don't have a choice. I, myself, have two beautiful babies that I need to live for. My children are my reason for fighting. I never, ever want my babies to feel the pain that I have felt watching my Mother fight breast cancer and I never want to feel the pain she must have felt when she had to say goodbye to me.

  I remember it like it was yesterday. June 15th 2002. My mother was scheduled for a lumpectomy. I sat in the waiting room with my aunt, while my mom was in surgery. The doctor (one of the best, a gentile man with a heart of gold) came into the family waiting room and sat down with us at a small round table, sitting next to me and keeping eye contact throughout his talk with me. He told me what no daughter ever wants to hear....he said that he would have to wait for the biopsy results to come back, but he could tell from her tumor that she absolutely had breast cancer. Though many people won't understand this, he asked me to not tell my Mom until the official results were back and he could tell her more about the tumor. It was the hardest secret I have ever had to keep, but it gave me a little time to wrap my head around what was happening. June 17th, my seventeen birthday was the day we went into his office for the results from the lab. She, without any doubt, had breast cancer. From that moment, our lives had changed. Ultimately, after the mastectomy, we found out that she had stage four breast cancer, due to the size of the tumor.

  I went through the rest of high school, even closer to her...which many never understood. My Mom was my best friend. She was my world. I idolized her. Even more so, during her fight, I respected her and understood her. Though we were close before her illness, we shared a new bond after her diagnosis. She fought, she fought for me. Every step of the way, when things were hard, and she could have given up, she fought. She was my world...she knew it. As she fought, I remained her rock (as much as I could). I rarely wanted to leave her side. Throughout chemo, radiation, multiple surgeries, hair loss, uncontrollable vomiting, highs, lows, and everything in between, she was my hero. She still is my hero. After she underwent all of the treatment for her breast cancer, the chemo had caused a lot of problems, so she was never really back to healthy at any point. Seven years later she was in remission, and was told to quit taking her Arimidex. We were elated. I thought, at that point, my Mom would be around forever...which is something, at one point, I never thought was possible.

  I was able to breathe a sigh of relief. I was able to get back to my life a little, even though I was always in touch with my mom (about 10 phone calls a day), I moved to North Carolina to be with my boyfriend at the time (we got married in 2007). My Mom came to visit around Christmas in 2009...and that's when she noticed a  lump on the back of her head. Long story short, her cancer had come back and taken over. I wanted so badly to believe that she could get through this again, but I knew better. I think she knew that she wouldn't survive this time, but she fought again. She fought, and fought, and fought...until her last breath. She was the strongest person I have ever known.

  Though I am most affected by my mothers breast cancer history, it doesn't stop at that. My Mom also went through this with her mother (my grandmother), and my grandmother went through it with her mother (my great grandmother). In my family, my great grandmother, my grandmother, my grandmothers sister, and my mother have all been diagnosed with breast cancer. Each diagnoses, younger that the previous diagnosed. My Mother was diagnosed at forty three years old. I have been told that the rule of thumb for breast cancer screening is ten years before the previous diagnosis. At thirty three years old, I will finally be able to get mammograms that are covered by insurance. Unfortunately, I am unable and unwilling to accept this "rule of thumb"....this is where my own journey begins.


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