Monday, April 27, 2009

Observations from the Breast Cancer Center

Ok, so you know that Breast Cancer CAN and DOES affect ONE in EIGHT women, but the reality that it may be your mom, your grandmother, your sister, or even you, hits you right in the stomach and takes your breath away.

One of my very best friends (Mary) went through her Breast Cancer battle about 5 years ago and I have had several other friends (Lupe, Alisha, Mayra, Kat, Sheila, Mayra, and so many more) have to fight this battle, but nothing prepared me for the day my mom called to tell me the biopsy came back Breast Cancer.

You see, no one in my entire family has any type of cancer...not one single person, and there are over 135+ on mom's side and 40+ on hubby's side, so having it strike my mom, of all people, has pretty much knocked me speechless (which is so hard to do for me...I like to talk!).

Mom was diagnosed early in March (of this year), had the surgery 2 weeks later, and on Good Friday began her battle with chemo. Because it was Good Friday and my husband is a Pastor and I work at a church I was not able to go with her to her first treatment (my dad and sister did go though). I saw her at our Good Friday services at church and nearly wasn't able to contain myself. I guess I have put her breast cancer in a "box" in my head and when she showed up the box top was ripped open and reality hit me square in the face.

She has cancer!

The dreaded and horrible "C" word. I'm telling you, it should be changed to a "curse word", because it stings worse than any "potty" word out there. I want to take it away from her, I want her to be healed, I want her not to be sick, and I just want her to be healthy. That's not too much to ask, is it?

Thankfully mom is a believer and has the strength of a woman on a mission. She's a fighter (yep, that's where I get it from) and she's NOT going to back down from this battle no matter how hard it gets.


This past Friday I was blessed to be able to go with her to her 2nd chemo appointment. I had a vague idea of what to expect (since I went with Mary to some of her appointments), but was completely in awe of some of the incredible things I witnessed while I was there.

We were at the Breast Cancer center from 10am - 2:30pm and the entire time I was there I had planned on reading, writing, tweeting (Twitter), and doing my own thing while mom rested, but what happened was that I was totally "sucked into" this world for those 4 1/2 hours.

My eyes were opened to see that Breast Cancer knows no socioeconomic backgrounds, there are no boundaries, no stereotypes, and no telling who it will affect and how bad it will be, but one thing is a common thread among those sitting in those chairs...they are fighters!

I sat there and listened to their stories, their families, and the reality that life goes on for everyone of those women. They are mothers, grandmothers, aunts, teachers, sisters, cousins, wives and they are NOT giving up or giving in.

I couldn't read my books, I couldn't even think about "writing", the only thing I could do and wanted to do was to be "fully present" in those moments. I wanted to soak up the strength, the wisdom, the tenacity, and the ferocious fire that burned in these women to pick up their cross and carry it with them one more day.

I can't even begin to tell you just how much those 4 1/2 hours have affected me. It has pretty much been all I have thought about since Friday. It permeates my conversations, it seeps into my drifting thoughts, and it captivates me in so many ways.

I am sure that I am just now (three days later) beginning to grasp the lessons I learned from being there and I can't wait to share some of them with you as we walk this journey together. Thank you so much for your prayers for my mom, for my grandmother (she was diagnosed with Bone Marrow Cancer the SAME DAY my mom was diagnosed with Breast Cancer), and for my family...I am completely and utterly grateful!

Your words, your prayers, and your heart have been an inspiration to me. If you have someone you know and love that is going through this right now, then please email me (click here) their name so I can add them to my prayer list.

Seeking JOY on the Journey,



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2 Mel's World Friends Comments:

Jennifer Williams 2:53 PM  

stand strong sister and for those moments you feel weak know that the Lord and your "ya yas" are right beside you and just a phone call, email, tweet, text, FB wall post away, heck if you mail me what you need you know i will respond. :). Giving you your breathing room cause i love and respect you but want you to know me snd the fam are praying for you and your mom not to mention the rest of the gang. We love you!

justabeachkat 12:30 AM  

What a beautiful post Mel!

I know this will be an especially special Mother's Day for you. I'm praying for your Mom...and you.

Happy Mother's Day sweet friend!
Hugs!
Kat

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