Back in 2001, my mom was going for her first annual mammogram and was a little nervous. Her aunt had passed away from the disease a few years earlier. I was 34 years old and had insurance, so my husband said I should go with her; like the buddy system. I would get my annual exam started to make sure my mom didn’t back out. So that’s what we did, and we made a day of it.
After the test, we went to lunch and made everyone be silly with us, laughing; it was all really relaxed. About a week later, we got a call to come into the doctor’s office. Not having ever done this before, we thought, well, maybe this is normal.
We both had the same general doctor for years, so we walked in and they took us back to his office instead of an exam room. and my mom turns to me and mouths, “What’s going on?” I told her maybe there were no rooms open right now. I have been a medical assistant for about eight years and I’m thinking I’m not liking this.
A few minutes later the doctor walks in and tells us the mammogram shows we both need further testing. So, we both go for an ultrasound immediately and then within two days we both were having biopsies.
Through all of this, the hardest part is my mom just kept saying, “I’m so sorry baby.” After what seemed like forever, (but what really was a week), we were back in the doctor’s office again. He looks at mom and says your biopsy came back negative and we’re just going to keep watching you very closely. I couldn’t believe it, I wanted to go celebrate, I was so relieved and excited.
Then I look at his face and he said, “Chris, do you want to call your husband?” I said, “No, for what? We’ll tell him the good news tonight when he gets home.” I look over at my mom and she’s not “happy crying” anymore, so I freeze.
He said I’m going to have a lumpectomy along with chemotherapy, and my whole world is about to change forever. What followed were tests, meeting new doctors, surgeries, trying to work, take care of my 15-year-old son, run my family, and be strong for my momma: She was really taking it hard.
She kept saying, “I’m ok with doing all this. I was prepared for it, but I’m not ok watching my baby do it.” I didn’t blame her at all. The way I looked at it, she saved my life by taking me with her. I was only 34 years old so I wouldn’t have caught it in time if I hadn’t gone with my scaredy-cat momma.
It was rough but I learned a lot about myself and a lot about others also. But I made it, and I still have my mom. We are both being watched now. We go and squeeze our boobies then go eat and laugh our way through it. If we ever have to go to the office again, we will do just fine because we will have each other.
This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.