My mom is strong.
A couple weeks ago, mom celebrated being a 22 year cancer survivor.
Yesterday, she had surgery and will soon begin the process of chemo once again.
A small tiny reappearance in her now removed breast.
22 years is a long time.
The last time my mother had cancer, I was a selfish twenty something college drop out waiting tables to make rent.
Today, I’m a 46 year old mother of a five year old, with a far greater understanding and appreciation of — everything I took for granted then.
Mom came through the surgery like mom does. Laughing and determined to press on. ‘What’s to worry about,’ I can hear her thinking. ‘This is just another in a long line of opportunities to be a light and strength for those in need’.
Women in their later years face the worst outcomes when it comes to cancers like this. Lack of opportunity for early detection, fewer abilities for cutting edge medicines, not as many surgeries to dig and dive in. We are very fortunate.
The treatments will take her through weeks of weight change, heart monitoring and hair loss.
But the wigs are better now.
And mom is determined to be herself…. journey through, she says. Using the battle as a sign of victory for someone else.
Like her youngest daughter, who is scheduling a mammogram herself.
To all of those who have felt the sting of cancer, may you feel lifted up today and know that you have a world of love and support in your outcomes.
For more information on early detection and treatments available, please visit: The National Cancer Institute.
Despite increased advances in detection and treatment, racial disparities persist: “While the death rates for women under 50 declined regardless of race, older black women are more likely to die of breast cancer than are white women.” ~ NPR, October 2016
Men get breast cancer too. To find out more about treatment and support, please visit: National Breast Cancer Foundation.
For more information on how breast cancer impacts the transgender community, please take time to read this piece from Denise Grady for the New York Times: “Living As A Man, Fighting Breast Cancer: How Trans People Face Care Gaps”, October 2016.