Disclosure :: As you all know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. This week, we are excited to bring you our Moms Supporting Breast Cancer Awareness series sponsored by Touro Infirmary. We will have personal stories from local breast cancer survivors, as well as information from local medical providers about early screening and detection of breast cancer.
There are several reasons why I’ll never forget November 19, 2013. Not only was it the day before mine and my husband’s 3rd wedding anniversary, but it’s the day my mother went in for a monogram and all our lives were changed forever.
She was alone when she was told by the nurse “It doesn’t look good.”
No one should ever have to be alone when they get the news that it’s a pretty good chance they have a cancerous tumor. She drove home in tears, and it was my older sister that gave me the news. She told me our mom had to be back the next day for a meeting with the doctor and final results of the testing.
That next day, on my anniversary, I walked into the doors of the Montgomery Breast Center with my mom, sister, and my mom’s fiancé. The radiologist went through the scans with us and explained to my mom that her best guess would put my mom in the 3rd stage of breast cancer. The next 30 minutes or so was full of shock and tears. We all took turns asking questions. You are never prepared for this.
There was no history of breast cancer in our family.
More than anything, I wanted to know that my mom would be ok and that it was caught in time. We left the Breast Center that evening armed with nothing more than pamphlets and magazine articles, awaiting my mom’s next court date.
It was shocking to me how quickly this news took an obvious toll on my mother. My mom has always been very beautiful. She’d always been told her entire life that she didn’t look her age, and people even confused my mom, sister, and myself as sisters instead of mother and daughters. But it didn’t take long after her diagnosis that she began to show her age. She had bags under her eyes, and she never smiled anymore. She was always stressed out and for good reason. The physical changes were hard to hide, even within that first week.
On November 21, the very day after it was confirmed to us that my mom did, in fact, have breast cancer, I got a phone call at work from my doctor’s office with the results of some routine blood work. In all my life, I’d never received more shocking news. It turns out, I was pregnant. My husband and I hadn’t been trying to conceive, and my doctor had even told me in the past that I would probably have difficulty conceiving.
The first thing that hit me was the irony of the timing. Here I was given this amazing and exciting news at the same time my mom was given the worst news of her life. The first couple of days after finding out were difficult for me. I was really so happy to be expecting, as this would be our first child. But then I’d feel guilty because there was so much heartache in my family, and I just didn’t know how to feel. I spoke with my sister, and we decided this couldn’t be anything other than good for my mom.
This baby could help to give her something else to focus on besides the cancer.
When we told my mom I was expecting, I saw her smile and even laugh for the first time in a week! She was overjoyed for me, and I believe for the first time in a week, she was actually excited about the future. Suddenly, our conversations weren’t consumed with gloom and doubt but with excitement for the baby. And the irony of timing didn’t stop with the news of my pregnancy. The week before my mom was to start her chemotherapy treatments, we found out the sex of our baby.
My husband and I learned we would be having a girl, and the very first thought that ran through my head was “my mom is going to freak!” My mom has 4 beautiful grandsons that she loves very much, but everyone knows how much she wanted a granddaughter. We got all of my nephews together to assist in the gender reveal. With most of my family watching, my nephews sprayed each other with pink and purple silly string! My mom was so excited! She had waited so many years for a granddaughter, and now in her darkest days, she was getting exactly that!
My mom’s final chemotherapy treatment was exactly four days before I went to the hospital to have my baby. She jokes now that she and my daughter will race to see who’s hair will grow first. This whole ordeal has been difficult for us all, but my daughter has served as a light at the end of a very dark tunnel for my mom. She had said so many times that my baby was God’s way of telling her “You will be ok. This will not defeat you. You have a beautiful granddaughter to meet.” It was the extra something she needed to never give up. For me, it seemed as though my daughter served a bigger purpose before she was ever even born. She is our miracle. My mom still has a long road ahead of her filled with Herceptin treatments and prescriptions, but she has her beautiful granddaughter with her every step of the way.
About Ashley Mobley
Ashley is a full time, stay at home mom of a beautiful 4 month old. She married her high school sweetheart, Sean, in 2010. They enjoy the small things in life like Auburn football and ‘The Walking Dead’. Though they currently live in Millbrook, Alabama, their hearts will forever be in New Orleans.