Hello my beauties~
Happy early Labor Day!!
Last week I gave you all a very light version of my story about my mother’s breast cancer. My entry today is all about my perspective of the story and some of the difficulties that ensued.
For the first 10 years of my life, I lived in Chicago. Every year, my mom participated in a cancer fundraiser. The first year I joined her I was in a stroller and wasn’t even a year old and already on my first walk-a-thon. All I remember about doing them for the first few years is that we would go to the Shedd Aquarium afterwards and we were always tired, but happy. There were always thousands of people, crowded around, walking up and down the lake shore. I know we kids didn’t really know why we were doing it, but we always knew it must be pretty important.
I knew that we did the walk for my Grandma Roberta because we had her name written on the number signs we wore on our backs (and strollers). I never got to meet my Grandma Roberta because she died of Breast Cancer years before I was even born. Every time something big happens in our lives, I can see it in my mom’s eyes, even though she never says it- I wish your grandma was here to see this.
I was ten years old when my mom came to pick me up early one day from school. We sat in the parking lot facing the playground when she told me that she had Breast Cancer. I was so scared, and not just because I knew people who got cancer often died. The most frightening part for me was that my mom had just found out she was pregnant a few weeks before that. Here we were, starting to have a bigger family, and we didn’t even know how long our mom would be with us. My two sisters were too little to understand what was going on, and to be honest, I didn’t really understand everything she was telling me either.
The first doctor she found told her that she had to end her pregnancy, but my mom would never consider something like that. She has always told us that her children are her miracles, we are her life. So her friends from work told her about Dr. George Sledge down in Indianapolis. He was doing some great work, and she might as well just go down and see what he had to say. My mom drove down there all by herself for that first meeting, and he told her that he would save the baby AND save her, too.
We were all still very scared, but someone had given my mom hope, so she was ready to do whatever it took. They would give her chemotherapy before the baby was born, then do surgery and radiation after. I had no idea what chemo was, but I know that everyone around my mom was talking about it constantly. She explained it like this: Chemo is like a big elephant who has to go into a china shop and find one thing. He sees what he needs at the very back of the store and goes to get it, but on the way he knocks over everything on the shelves. So yes, the cancer would be taken care of; however, along the way, my mom would have a few things that wouldn’t work as well as they used to. She would get tired and not want to eat as much…and she would have no hair.
It took a long time fore her to have the baby…or it seemed that way. She had chemotherapy the whole time, and even had to have extra shots and such to make sure the baby was developing right. The baby doctors worked with the cancer doctors, and our whole family just prayed that they would be able to fix it all.
In April of the next year, we all (my father, two sisters and myself) went to the hospital for the baby’s birthday. We didn’t know if it would be a boy or girl, if the baby would be healthy or need to stay in the hospital for a long time. But we all found out that that morning that my little brother Noah was strong and healthy. Both he and my mom we OK. My mom had a few more surgeries and radiation treatments after that.
My brother is a skinny little 6 year old who I love dearly, but he is so naughty sometimes! We all love him. It’s truly incredible to see such a joy in my life that came from such a horrific experience. Cancer is a disgusting disease that affects so many lives. But by working together, I believe that one day we WILL find a cure.