As many of you may know October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This disease has always help a close spot to my heart because both my mother and maternal grandmother fell ill to it.
My first encounter with this illness was in 1991/1992; my grandmother was in the late stages while my mother was in the very early stages- both at the same time. At this time I was in Kindergarten, I remember coming home from school walking in the living room and seeing my mother cutting off her hair. I was confused. I never remember seeing her look sickly, I never went to any of her Chemo or Radiation treatments. The nasty parts of the disease were hidden from me. At some point when I was still in Kindergarten, during the time my grandmother didn't have much time left to live, she moved into our house. I remember her hospital bed being moved into my room, directly across from my bothers room. I ended up sleeping in the den/office/living room for a while. I'm not sure exactly how long my grandmother stayed with us I do remember her being present at my 6th birthday; I remember peaking into my room all of one time and seeing her lay on the hospital looking bed- sleeping. Sometime during the summer of 1992 my grandmother passed away.
In 1993 my mother got breast cancer a 2nd time. Again I never went to any of her Chemo or Radiation treatments. I do remember her being at home with some kind of machine she would drag around; kinda resembled an oxygen tank but I don't think that's what it was. My memory is so vague of this time I'm really not sure how long my mom went through treatment but the memories don't seem that long. Before I knew it she was well as back to working and baking and doing all the things she always had- at least that's according to my memories.
Nearly 20 years passed before breast cancer would knock on our family's door again... April 2010; my mom went to the ER because she was having breathing problems. Over the course of the next 8 or 9 months my mom was in and out of the hospital, given all kinds of medication to fix the heart and breathing issues, and placed on an oxygen machine. It was so hard seeing my mom sick. Even though she had battled breast cancer twice before I was far too young to remember much about it. but at 24 I remembered everything. It was December 2010 when the doctor discovered an underlying issue to the health problems my mom was having. BREAST CANCER- it had returned, it was worse than she had ever had it before, she was angry, I was scared, my brother was angry and scared. My mom probably spent half of December in the hospital, including Christmas Day, then she came home. She went through about a week of Chemo before she was back in the hospital on New Years Eve. That was the last time she was at home. Through the course of the following 8 days I saw my mother at her weakest, she was in pain and tired and simply wanted to get better, My dad flew in; him and my brother were surprisingly strong; myself not so much. Every single day I went to the hospital took one single look at my mom and broke down! It was simply that scary for me. On January 8 my mom lost her battle. That was by far the hardest day of my life along with January 9th and 14th.
Nothing in my life has been the same since that day. All the things my mother has taught me have indeed stuck with me. I'm more like her than I'll probably ever realize. I always pray to God that I never get breast cancer. It may seem like a selfish prayer but I really don't think myself nor my family can deal with another women getting cancer. However, if a day comes and a doctor tells me other wise, I'll be prepared and ready to fight!