A year ago this month, my mom went in for her annual mammogram and they found something unusual. They did a biopsy and the results came back positive for breast cancer. The night my mom told me of her diagnosis was like a dream. I couldn’t believe it. The unknown was so terrifying. I wasn’t sure what would happen to her. Of course, my mind went to a dark place where I imagined the worst. I was scared and angry.
The first couple of weeks were really hard. I cried a lot.
I should tell you that my mother’s mother (my grandmother) had breast cancer as well. She was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer the summer before my freshman year of college. I watched my grandmother deteriorate. I watched her suffer through the chemo. I remember the day she shaved her head because it was too traumatic to watch it fall out. I was there on her good days, as well as the bad.
A year after her diagnosis, the summer before my sophomore year, she passed away.
Fortunately, they caught my mother’s cancer early. You should know, my grandmother missed her annual mammogram and that’s why the cancer went undetected. Thankfully, my mom never missed a mammogram.
A few weeks after her diagnosis, my mother had a lumpectomy (where the doctors took out the cancer). Unfortunately, the results from pathology weren’t as we expected. It is all very confusing but basically, they didn’t get all of the cancer during the lumpectomy so she underwent a mastectomy (where they removed her breast). The mastectomy went well and today my mother is cancer free!
In the last year, she has undergone one reconstructive surgery and was prescribed a drug called Tamoxifen. Tamoxifen is used to reduce the risk of breast cancer coming back. She will most likely take this drug for the next decade.
I’m so inspired by my mother. She has taught me so much about faith. Her strength never faltered. She is a survivor!
Praise the Lord, her cancer was not life threatening. -Never missing a mammogram is so important y’all.
Not long after my mom’s diagnosis, she began blogging about her experience. Answering dozens of emails and texts became too much for her to handle. Her blog, Busting Free (link to blog: www.busting-free.blogspot.com ), was the perfect way to keep family and friends informed of her progress. Now, a year later, I think Busting Free (link to blog) is a great resource for someone going through the same experience. If you or someone you know has been affected by breast cancer, I encourage you to check it out!
As most of you know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I ask all of you to be aware of your bodies. Talk to your loved ones. Ask your mothers and grandmothers if they get an annual mammogram. Knowledge is power y’all!
Brittney Orr is our Blogger of the Month for September. She blogs at Brittney’s Orr-dinary Life.