We’ve all had some kind of encounter with it, whether it’s a loved one, friend or you personally.
My interaction wasn’t personal, but for my superhero it was. That hero was my mom. The day she sat me down saying “Ja’Nae I really don’t know how to tell this to you, but I’ve been diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. This is not going to be easy for us, but I need you to be strong for your sisters and for me.” My initial reaction was to cry and say everything is going to be ok, but that wasn’t the case. “No, that’s not true why are you lying? You can’t have that, you’re superwoman, why would this happen to you?” All she could do was tear up and walk away.
The next few months, while away on an internship, I talked to my mom every day. I could hear the trying tone of strength in her voice as she tried to reassure me that all was ok, and she couldn’t wait to see me when I get home. The day I came home, I walked through the door, saw her smile happy to see me but weak from the treatment and a different person from when I left.
Watching my mother fight every day for her life while trying to be strong for my sisters and me was hard to see. She was a very private person, but I could hear her crying at night on the phone with her sisters worrying more about us than herself.
A year or so later, the day arrived she was free!!! She happily rang the bell and was excited to say that she was now cancer-free. That was the greatest day ever, she was happier than I ever have seen her before.
THERE SHE WAS: MY SUPERWOMAN, THE FIGHTER, THE SURVIVOR!
Then the news came again. The recurrence of cancer, but this time it came back stronger. I lost my mother to breast cancer 4 years ago. I started to educate myself on the precautions and talked to my doctor about the BRCA Gene test. Mine came out negative which is great, but I still have to make sure to get my mammograms. Most doctors will say to wait until the age of 40, but if your mother was diagnosed you’re supposed to go 10 years from the age she was diagnosed. Also, self-examinations are extremely important, check for any lumps and talk to your doctor if anything is abnormal.