I was 39-years-young when I went for my first mammogram. I was single mother of 4 kids with minimal father participation. I was working 50 hours a week, taking care of others, when I found out I had 3 tumors. But don’t worry, they said. No family history, you are only 39, blah blah blah. Well, it was cancer in one of the 3 tumors.
That was a Friday. By Monday, I was interviewing surgeons but hadn’t told my children. My special needs son was days away from turning 19 and was going to graduate. I wanted to put off chemo until after he graduated, so I would not ruin it, but the cancer was too severe and “angry.” It was already into my sentinel node and growing fast at a grade 3. So I finally chose a surgeon, not knowing I had to also choose an oncologist and a plastic surgeon.
I walked this journey alone. My best friend, the one person I told, was mad I got cancer. She was recently widowed by her husband from a different type, so like any single mom who plows through, I went into complete denial. I disassociated myself from the patient I now was and did everything I had to do, including a radical bilateral mastectomy. I advise anyone with “invasive” to do that. What they don’t tell you is that they cannot test the other breast fully for precancerous cells or your nipples until after they amputate. Mine revealed that I would have had a 100% chance of reoccurrence in my 2nd breast had I not gone so extreme, but that was the single mommy in me. I am only gonna do this once, God willing.
I am still fighting with radiation, more chemo and reconstruction with a possible hysterectomy in my future, and I have had a great outcome so far, thank you, Jesus. But I get spooked by the “F cancer” things you see. I dare not challenge her to return by pissing her off, lol, and I think we all fight like a girl. As hard as it is, we do what we must–we are resilient like children yet emotionally scarred like them as well–Fighting like a Girl is a badge of strength and faith. When people say you throw like a girl, it’s meant to be an insult. Well, I guess they never had one throw the ball at their nuts, lol, because girls are strong, and inside every woman is a little girl who needs to be loved.
When I hit rock bottom in the emotional part of the journey, I started a support group wherein women could be totally raw about their feelings, and it made all the difference in my mental recovery. That outlet, that positivity, that giving back was truly what I needed.
So that is my story. I went from single mom and caretaker to single mom needing caretaking overnight, but I managed to get through. And so for that I am thankful. Cancer-wise, I am in the clear for now. Emotionally, I am still on my journey.
The informational content of this article 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.
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.