My mom had breast cancer. That’s the easiest way to open up this article. According to the Susan G. Komen website, five percent of women under 40 are diagnosed with breast cancer; my mom was 30 years old.
It was a hard time for me personally because of the way I found out. Labor Day weekend, my family and I were at our summer place, and I overheard my mom talking to her cousin about some sort of ultrasound. I was naive and unaware of medical terminology at 13 years old, but I understood that you get an ultrasound when you’re pregnant. I didn’t know at the time that you get ultrasounds for other reasons, so I assumed my mom was pregnant.
I spent that whole weekend being happy, watching my mom and texting a few close friends indicating that soon, we would be adding to our family--or so I thought.
When we got home, my mom sat my brother and me down, and I knew it was coming. Yet, it never came. Instead, she told us she had cancer. I don’t remember my reaction, but I remember feeling incredibly stupid. I was expecting another sibling, but instead my entire world changed for a different reason.
October is a time to raise awareness for this disease because of all the unknown still out there. Of course there are stipulations about the possible causes, and we only really know it’s likely to happen if you’re female or have a history of the disease. More women are dying of breast cancer, and we need to take a couple more steps forward to figure this out.
Luckily, my mom is a survivor. We worked really hard and fought a long battle, but she made it out, and I’m grateful. I remember going out more with my parents, seeing my mom creating more scrapbooks and shielding my mom away from sick guests. It was difficult, but she’s come out stronger because of this.
Although there’s no way to prevent this from happening to me, it’s in my best health to get my first mammogram soon since I’m now 10 years younger than my mom was when she was diagnosed. Fortunately, she was told this isn’t a genetic trait that’s passed down, considering she’s the first in our family, but one is better safe than sorry.
When I look back into that time of my life, I get upset because everything went downhill so fast. My mom lost both her parents between 2014-15, shortly after receiving and beating the diagnoses. This strain of stress on my mom has taught me to respect her even more than I already did. She’s a fighter, and these past few years have really proved that to a lot of people. She kept it together for her family and also herself because of her will to live--seeing her children graduate and continuing to grow was keeping her from falling apart at the seams.
The views expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily those of The Torch.