Oct 2, 2010

The day I found out

It was the summer of 2000 (I was 17) and my mother had been having a lot of doctor appointments.
She was really secretive about them, not telling us where she was going or if we found out it was a doctor appointment, she would tell us that she just going in for a check-up.
I knew that was a lie. My mother is a horrible liar and she never just went in to see the doctor.
A few weeks had passed and I noticed she was staying out late and coming home drunk more often.
After a few months of that behavior, I finally snapped on her.
I was sitting on the floor helping my sister with her homework and she came in drunk...like usual.
I stood up and started yelling at her. Telling her she was being a horrible mom and that I was tired of sitting there day and night with my siblings. Making sure they got fed and helped them with their homework and put them to bed.
I said I was done and she could figure it out herself.
She started crying.
At first I thought she just had the drunk tears going on like she normally did, but then I noticed something different.
I asked her what was wrong and she told me to sit down.
That's when she blurted it out...

"I have breast cancer"

My heart sank into the pit of my stomach.
My mind started racing and I didn't know what to think.
This couldn't be happening to us.
Why her??
Was God punishing us for something?
Is she going to die?

I just remember going up to her and apologizing for being such a bitch.
I couldn't have felt more horrible in my whole entire life.
Here I was cursing her while she was out getting drunk and she was dealing with a horrible diagnosis.

Luckily the cancer was in one spot, and they successfully removed the tumor and she completed series of radiation treatments to make sure it was all gone.
Within 18 months she was told that she was cancer-free and we couldn't have been happier.

During this time, I really opened my eyes about my own health.
Mom already had a hysterectomy when she was 33 due to having endometriosis and I had been having my own reproductive problems.
I learned a lot about self breast exams...the correct way.
Making sure to do it every month and get checked regularly by a doctor.
Many women think just because they are young doesn't mean they won't get breast cancer.
They are wrong.
My mom thought she was one of them.


InDueTime said...

I remember when my aunt was sick, too. I was around 10 or so.

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