In the United States, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Each year it is estimated that over 220,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die.
The facts are there, however, I never feared breast cancer would affect my life…but then I was wrong. In June 2014, as the school year was coming to a close and my brother was preparing to graduate high school, my mother informed us that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
In all honesty, I don’t remember how she told us and I don’t remember my initial reaction. Although it was only 2 years ago, I have no memory of the day she told us. Everything went black and fuzzy. Panic, fear and hopelessness took over my vision, thoughts, and movements.
All I knew was that this wasn’t going to be how her life was to end: I knew breast cancer wasn’t going to win this battle.
The time period in which she was getting treatments and fighting the disease was less than a year, but it dragged out and felt like much longer. Per my mother’s request, I didn’t tell anyone what I was going through. My boyfriend at the time knew, but none of my best friends or close family friends had any idea what I was feeling and what my family was going through. My mother hid it from her employer for fear of being laid off; she hid it from some of her best friends for fear of being seen as weak.
Whenever I would smile or laugh while out with friends, or find myself simply enjoying myself and having a good time, I felt guilty. Any second that I wasn’t beside my mother felt horrible. I was prepared for the worse, even though the doctors assured us not to worry.
After a long fight and emotional battle over a period of nine months, my mother got the results back that we prayed for every single night: she was breast cancer free! The worry finally fell off her shoulders and she felt normal again. She no longer had anything to hide from her coworkers, boss, and friends.
Unfortunately, not all best cancer patients end up as survivors. This disease affects so many women, men, and families. Sadly, not all breast cancer is hereditary. It can happen to anyone.
With breast cancer awareness month upon us, take this chance to check yourself and remind your loved ones to do the same!