Tag Archive | "Breast Cancer"

Roommates reflect on mothers’ breast cancer – Molly’s Story


Molly’s Story

My mother always bothers me about my health. Every time I get a checkup, every time I feel a little tired, every time I have a cold, she looks at me with her mouth in a line and puts her hands on her hips. I know what that look means, although I’d prefer to forget.

Some families pass down receding hair lines or large noses, but not mine. Instead, half of my immediate family members share cancer. Not only have they had cancer, they’ve died from it. Young, old or in-between, it just seems to be our family’s thing.

So when my mom looks at me that way, I know the “c word” is running through her head, even if she won’t actually say it. Growing up this way has sanitized the term for me. Cancer was an everyday part of life, a common occurrence I’d probably have to deal with some day.

I just didn’t know how soon.

Last fall during finals, I received a call from my mom while finishing a 36-page research paper in the Noggle study room. I grabbed my phone and took the call in the bathroom so not to disturb others. My mother answered and said a single sentence.

“Your grandfather had a heart attack, your uncle is getting a divorce and I have breast cancer.”

Five minutes before I’d been worried about the size of my margins.

The journey since that day has been startlingly ordinary, as if cancer has finally moved into my life and made itself at home. The term is still sanitized and impersonal.

I’ve thought of what it would be like to die of cancer. Of what it would be like tohave my future erased, to never get married, to never turn 50.

I never considered that I would be the one left behind.

This summer was a flurry of regular appointments and ticking off days on a treatment calender. Each day began with prayers for help or praises for feeling good.

I have to admit that I complained. I got annoyed and impatient and more than anything, I wish I’d handled the whole situation with more patience and love. My mother certainly deserved it.

She was gracious to me when I didn’t deserve it. She held me when I complained of an insignificant problem, did my laundry when I was at work and prayed that my days would go better. As if I had anything to whine about.

She was the person of love I should have been in the time when she most needed me.

Perhaps too late, I finally get it. Life is precious. People are extraordinary and love is rare. Cherish accordingly.

There’s nothing more. Cancer has no reasoning; it doesn’t select its victims. God doesn’t use it to teach us lessons or to punish our shortcomings.

But He does let it happen.

For now, God is letting me keep my mom. She ended treatment a few months ago and is getting stronger all the time. I am amazed at her progress and appreciate the woman she is despite difficulty. She is truly a testament to God’s healing grace.

Thankfully, she’s extended that to me.

I take her concerned look seriously now. Not only that, but I interpret it as a sign of her love. I still hate going to the doctor, but I do it. Hopefully I won’t even have to call my daughter and use the “c word.”

But if I do, God will be there just like He always has been. No matter the circumstance, I can rely on His faithfulness and love.

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Roommates reflect on mothers’ breast cancer – Lauren’s Story


Lauren’s Story

The day my mom lied to my face was the same day she told me she had breast cancer.

Some time last October my mom called me, asking if we could get lunch on a Saturday when she was to see her friend in Wabash. She could drive down to Marion and hit Wabash on the way back to Fort Wayne. I said yes, excited to see my mom and get away from campus for a few hours.

We ate lunch and talked about school and the newspaper over some fine cuisine (Pizza Hut). After my mom paid the bill we went out to the car, but my mom just sat there. She didn’t put on her seatbelt, and she didn’t turn the key.

“I didn’t come just to get lunch with you,” she said.

My stomach drops.

“I had surgery a few weeks ago. The doctor found some pre-cancer cells in my breast, so I went in to get them removed,” she said.

I smiled, relieved.

“But more cells showed up, so I’m going to have to have more surgery,” she said.

I wanted to cry, but I didn’t. Somehow I’m able to keep calm and listen to what my mom had to say. She continued to tell me how she was going to have more surgery to make sure the cancer is completely removed. That way she could have a nearly a 99.9 percent chance of never getting cancer again.

She had always been worried about getting breast cancer, since her mom died from it in the late 1980s. Now she doesn’t have to worry.

I asked my mom if I could give her directions to Wabash from campus, to make sure she gets to her friend’s OK. She gave me a sad smile and told me that she wasn’t really going to meet her friend; she just needed an excuse to get lunch with me.

And for some reason that made me more upset than anything.

I never once thought my mom would die. I never thought she’d lose her hair or go through months of chemotherapy or radiation. (And thank God, she hasn’t.) I’ve always had a peace about the whole situation. Maybe that’s my naive heart just hoping for the best, or maybe it’s the Holy Spirit. I’ve had to convince myself it’s the latter.

After one of her surgeries, I remember feeling guilty for not stressing over my mom’s health as much as I was with school work. I prayed for her and checked up on her, but didn’t fret to the same degree as I had my Sentence Strategies homework. I think sometimes it’s easier to trust God with the big things like cancer than it is to trust him with the smaller things like GPA.

It’s easier when something is completely out of your control to give up that control. I can’t stop cancer cells from multiplying, but God can. As Bible-school as that sounds, God has the ability to destroy illness in an instant — I don’t.

But when it comes to things you can for the most part control, it’s easy to take over. It’s easy to say screw it, and freak out about class projects, relationship drama and whatever else that in the grand scheme of things doesn’t matter.

Though you may not have to deal with cancer or illness, but may have friends and family members going through a traumatic experience — have peace. God knows what he’s doing.

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