One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in her lifetime. That means that nearly everyone has someone in their lives who has been impacted by the disease. Without exception, everyone has someone they would move mountains to protect from breast cancer’s deadly grip.
As part of our “Who’s Your One” Series with Susan G. Komen, we sat down with mother and son, Linda and Hosea Baker, to learn about their journey with breast cancer and what it meant for Linda’s children and grandchildren.
Question: Linda, can you talk to us about when you were diagnosed?
Answer: I actually got the diagnosis on my birthday, which seems like it really sucks, but actually it was my point of facing this and realizing that I could fight it and I would fight it. I would do whatever I could to fight this.
Q: How did you tell your family? How did you tell your children?
A: That was the hardest part. I really didn’t want to tell my husband. I hated to tell my children because I knew that if I had cancer, then that would mean that they would also inherit a possibility of getting cancer in their lifetime, too.
Q: Hosea, can you bring us back to that moment when you heard the news?
A: It was just like a ton of bricks hitting me. I immediately started thinking about how difficult it was for her to tell me this, and so I just wanted to try and reflect as much positivity as I could to it, and just take it and try not to emotionally react … she’s the strongest person I know. I’ve never hugged my mom as much as I [do] now.
Q: What made you decide to get genetic testing?
A: My older sister had had breast cancer, I guess 26 years before I got breast cancer … When we were setting up for all my doctors’ appointments, I told them I wanted to be tested genetically because I had this feeling …
When I tested fine for the BRCA-1 and 2, but [the genetic counselor] said, “but, there’s this CHEK2 gene that [you] have a mutation of, and it’s associated with breast, colon, and melanoma.” She told me that all of my children and my siblings could be tested for free if they wanted to be.