Two Teens And Their Mama: Be Brave - My Mother's Story

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Be Brave - My Mother's Story


To be honest, Breast Cancer Awareness Month sometimes scares me.  The biggest part of my anxiety issue is the "what ifs".  Even though I do a monthly breast exam and have a yearly mammogram, in the back of my mind I'm always thinking that I've missed something. Every October that worry is magnified because everywhere I turn, I see pink, and hear another story.  

It's also the month that my mother found out she had breast cancer.

All of the women in my family have lumpy breasts, so we often get summoned back for another "look".  My mom didn't give it a second thought when the breast center asked her to return for more pictures.

I'll never forget the moment she called and told me she had cancer.  The world around me became slow and hazy.  I tried to focus on what she was saying, but everything was drowned out by that one word - CANCER.  How could my mom have cancer?  She was only 56 and very healthy.  Cancer happened to other people.  Except this time it didn't.

Two weeks later she had surgery, and after they wheeled her away I sat in the waiting room and cried and cried.  I needed my mom - my kids needed their grandma - it just didn't seem fair.

But fair had nothing to do with it.  Cancer can happen to anyone.  

In the weeks that followed her surgery and subsequent radiation, my mom was physically weak.  I cleaned her house, did her grocery shopping, took her to appointments.  I thought if I stayed loud and busy I could push the fear away - fear that I might lose my mother.  Fear that I might get breast cancer too someday.

But it was during the quiet times where I finally fought the fear. Sitting with my mother, I learned how strong she truly is.  Through the weeks of her treatment, she stayed positive, brave, and resolute.  Even though she also had moments of fear, she remained determined to beat this terrible disease, and she never gave up.



My mom has given me many things in my lifetime, but she gave me the greatest gifts when she was fighting breast cancer.  She gave me strength, taught me resilience, and reminded me to look for the positive in any situation.  

And what we all learned was the value of early detection.  Because my mother's cancer was caught early with a routine mammogram, she was able to be cured with a partial mastectomy and six weeks of radiation therapy - no chemotherapy or further surgery was needed.

So finally I get to my point, which is this.  If you've never had one or it's been a while, PLEASE schedule a mammogram this month.  Not knowing about cancer won't make it go away.  If you're afraid to do it for yourself, do it for your children, your spouse and your friends.  Don't wait any longer.

It's been fourteen years since my mother's diagnosis, and she remains cancer free. Every year when she returns from her mammogram with an "all clear", I am so thankful. And every January when I schedule my own exam, I hear my mother's voice in my head, telling me to push aside my anxiety and be brave.

Be brave.  You can do it.  It will be okay.  Thank you mom.

Linking up with Motivation Monday

41 comments:

  1. Oh Lana, what a beautiful post- so much hit home with me from the lumpy breast anxiety to needing to be brave. Thank you my friend

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    1. I'm so glad you liked it. I have to work on being brave every day, it seems.

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  2. So glad that your mom is a survivor - and that you get annual mammograms! Gorgeous photo of the two of you!

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  3. Thank you so much for sharing your mother's story. Breast Cancer Awareness Month encourages bravery and empowerment. Stories like your mom's offer support and motivation. I am thankful that you shared it.

    Kim
    2justByou

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  4. So glad your mom is okay now! I really need to make an appt but keep putting it off. Thanks for the reminder!

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    1. I hope you make that appointment soon!

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  5. Thank you for this post! So glad that she is 14 years cancer free, what an amazing thing to be able to say!

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    1. I still can't believe it's been 14 years - still feels like yesterday.

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  6. This is so important...especially if it runs in your family. It doesn't run in mine, but I still get the sisters tested once a year.

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    1. Yes, especially important if it runs in your family. I'm happy you get tested every year!

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  7. Thank you for sharing your Mom's story! It is so important to be brave and not put it off! So happy to hear she is cancer free!

    Jill
    dousedinpink.com

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    1. Thanks Jill. It's an easy exam to put off, but so important to have.

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  8. Beautiful post! I'm so glad she's cancer free!

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  9. Have you ever gone with your friends and sister and made a day of togetherness of it? I find the support system of my girlfriends make the mammogram experience more tolerable with a side of fun and empathetic support. What a beautiful mother and daughter!

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  10. And now it's our turn to thank her. And you for sharing this inspiring story!

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    1. She will be happy to hear about all the nice comments!

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  11. What a great post. Yes, so often we learn the most about our parents when we watch how they face adversity. So hard, but so beautiful.

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    1. It's true - I had no idea she was so strong until she went through this.

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  12. My mom gets called back a lot too. Lumpy! It doesn't run in her side of the family, luckily, but my father's mother had and beat cancer when I was younger.
    So glad your beautiful mom is here!

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  13. so glad your mom is still here to share her story and strength!!

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  14. Thanks, Lana...I'd been procrastinating about making that appointment, but I'll do it tomorrow.

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    1. I can't begin to tell you how happy this makes me - made my day!

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  15. I'm also a lumpy breast girl. I've already had one biopsy but it wasn't cancer. I get one everh year religiously now. I worry more for my hubby he's already gone through so much with me. I already almost died once and he has watched hjs family of 14 whittled down to 5 all by cancer. I pump myself up by saying I refuse to let him down.

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    1. Rena, you are one of the strongest, bravest people I know!

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    2. Oh Lord Lana not by a long shot! I still have shaky knees!

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  16. What a lovely post Lana, I am so glad your mom is ok now. We all go through these scares after a cetain age, God know I have...as long as well keep our mamogram dates and get checked! Good luck to all of us...right :)

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    1. Absolutely! Things seem to get scarier as we get older, at least where health is concerned!

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  17. Thank you for sharing this inspiring story. I'm glad your mom is now cancer free!

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  18. Your mother is an inspiration. Early detection is the key to this horrible disease. I'm doing a run for breast cancer today, I'll keep your mother in my thoughts. I'm stopping by from SITS & I hope your having a great Saturday!

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    1. Thank you so much - hope your run was fun!

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  19. Very inspiring. I keep telling myself I'm too young to worry about it just because it's like back in the day of promiscuous behavior and you go for that regular STD check and start thinking about every man you were with that year, and all the women they were with, and then you convince yourself you have AIDS before the test results come back. It's like I finally grew out of that phase settling down and getting married, I thought I was totally in the clear for thriller level anxiety due to test results. I'll probably start doing the mammogram just because I read this post. Thank you.

    And WTG mom for kicking cancer's @ss.

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    1. This makes me SO happy - it's honestly not so bad and then you know you're ok. I will share your last line with my mom - she'll love it!

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  20. What a wonderful and touching story. I am happy your mom is cancer-free. This makes me schedule my first mammogram even more.

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    1. Thanks Ada! I hope you do schedule it - it's really not so bad!

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