My mother was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987 at the age of 37. My sister was 3 and I was 7. Nearly 10 years later, it came back in her lungs.
Growing up I knew bits and pieces of my mother’s story, but it was not until recently when I was diagnosed myself at the age of 39 that I fully learned the magnitude of her journey. And perhaps you cannot fully understand all your mom went through until you become a mom yourself.
Only through the sisterhood of motherhood can we understand the trials and triumphs that our mothers faced. Magnify those day-to-day challenges with over a dozen surgeries, monthly check-ups, and the side-effects of the drugs you are on. Not to mention the inner silent battle that you are waging every day just to keep your head up, your faith in check, and put one foot in front of the other. And my mother did it with grace and love.
Even though her own faith was being tested she made sure ours was not. She made sure that we made it to school, swim practices, Sunday school, friend’s birthday parties, that we did our homework, studied for those weekly spelling tests, and completed those science projects, all the while trying to juggle her own doctor’s appointments, faith and sanity. Was it easy? No. Did she have her meltdown moments like the rest of us moms? Sure–and Lord knows she was entitled to them. But she did it. And so can you.
My mom is not just surviving, she is thriving! Our prayer is that other survivors will find hope in her story and see themselves in our journey.