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.
Ms. Thomas, your biopsy results are positive, you have BREAST CANCER!!!
When I received the news, I immediately said, “I am a mother. What about my child? No one will be able to raise her the way I can. What am I going to do?” That was my initial reaction.
The first person I spoke with after getting the news was Dr. Ryan, my gynecologist. I cried in his ear on the telephone; a caring man and doctor, he said, “Alicia, I know it is devastating news right now but we are going to find the best doctors out here to help us. I am going to be there every step of the way with you, don’t worry!” Yes, it made me feel good, but I still wondered about my child.
What am I going to tell her; she is only 5 years old? How am I going to tell her in a way that she understands? When will I tell her? Where should we be when I tell her? I did not know the answers to any of these questions so again, I cried and prayed and cried and prayed some more.
At the time of being diagnosed with breast cancer, I was working toward getting my Master’s degree in Counseling. I had a residency scheduled and did not want to cancel it. After talking with my surgeon, he assured me that it would be okay to have the surgery upon my return. I made my trip to Portland, Oregon from October 29, 2012 through November 4, 2012. My return home was bittersweet because on November 5th, Ambria, my baby was turning 6 years old, and I had yet to tell her the devastating news. In addition, my surgery was scheduled for two days later on November 7, 2012.
I decided I would tell Ambria on November 6th while preparing dinner standing in our kitchen. I was extremely nervous when I got ready to tell her the news because I thought she would have a whole slew of questions that I might not be able to answer. But to my surprise, Ambria handled the news better than I expected. I said “Well, Mommy has some not so good news to tell you. I have a knot in my breast, which is called breast cancer. I have to have surgery to get it taken out. I am also going to have to go through treatment which will make me feel bad some days and cause me to lose all of my hair.”
I wasn’t expecting to hear what came out of my 6 year old daughter’s mouth.
She looked up at me and said “Mommy, I already know what’s going on, God told me to tell you everything is going to be just fine.” After hearing those words come out of that little girl’s mouth, I knew God had my back, and everything would be okay.
On November 7, 2012, I had a mastectomy. On November 8, 2012, I was sitting in my hospital room completing my final exam because I was on a mission. I had already set my graduation date, and it was a personal goal for me not to change it. My chemotherapy treatment started in February of 2013 and ended in May of 2013. My hormonal therapy started in May of 2013 and ended in May of 2014. It was a journey, but I made it! I am blessed and elated to wear the many hats that have been given to me.
I am a True Survivor, Mother, Wife, Daughter, Sister, Friend, and Professional. God is AWESOME!!!
It is because He told me He would never leave me or forsake me that I graduated and earned a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling in August of this year and maintained a 4.0 GPA while going through this whirlwind of an experience. But through it all, I am forever grateful. My daughter is about to turn 8 years old and is doing wonderful. I could not have asked for a more loving and wonderful child. I am honored to be Ambria’s mother. I truly love her and am truly blessed to call her DAUGHTER!