Crossing Over


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One thing a lot of people don’t know or realize about my mom is that she was a pharmaceutical rep who sold breast cancer medications before she was diagnosed with breast cancer herself. She was in the business for 23 years and can still tell you everything you would ever want to know about Nolvadex, Arimidex, and Faslodex. Some of her doctors even started calling her “Madame X.”

The fact that Mom ended up receiving the medication she sold, one would think, prepared her better than anyone for what she was about to experience. But that wasn’t really the case.

Scientifically speaking, Mom knew wholeheartedly that she was going to be alright on the medicines she took during and after her treatment. She made her living off of explaining how they worked to doctors all over the country. She was (and still is) an expert. But she will tell you before anyone that no drug rep, pharmacist, or doctor, can prepare you psychologically and emotionally for the effects of breast cancer treatment.

Of course it is a battle that can be fought and won, but any survivor will tell you that it is by no means easy. But then again, no battle worth fighting ever is.

According to Mom, once you “cross over” from the scientific side to the patient side, it is a completely different world. For her, it was a point of no return. After becoming a survivor, Mom didn’t, couldn’t, go back to the pharmaceutical world because she couldn’t sell the medication the way a sales rep was supposed to sell.

Mom knew how hard it was to go through what she had, and she couldn’t just smile, tell someone it was going to be ok and walk away. She wanted to stay and tell the person where to go, what to do, and how to do this and that. But that wasn’t part of her job description.

Life takes you in directions you didn’t even know existed. Most of the time I think it is to see how you handle what is thrown. Whatever comes your direction is not meant to keep you down. It’s meant to help you connect to a different part of yourself, to a different part of others. It keeps you human and reminds you what’s most beautiful in life.