Today’s guest post comes from Amanda Thompson and breaks form from the others this month as its author has never been diagnosed with breast cancer. I thought it was important to feature a story from a daughter’s perspective. Amanda’s mom was diagnosed with breast cancer nearly fourteen years ago. A heartfelt read.
Amanda and I first connected on Twitter about a year ago after I had been tweeting about the breast cancer storyline on Parenthood. Amanda said she could relate to Haddie’s storyline. If you’re a fan of the show, you might remember that Kristina and Adam waited to tell their daughter about Kristina’s diagnosis so not to disrupt her studies at college. Anyway, long story short…Amanda’s parents also waited to tell her about her mother’s diagnosis.
Tell us how old you were when your mom was diagnosed?
I was 22 when my mom was diagnosed. She was 58 years old.
What was your reaction?
I can remember being really scared and thinking immediately that it was a terminal diagnosis. I was really uneducated about breast cancer and I thought I was going to lose my mom. I was young and didn’t realize cancer is something you could survive.
Tell us about how your parents waited in telling you about the diagnosis.
It wasn’t kept from me, however my parents did delay telling me. I was on spring break when they found out, they waited until I got back and I feel it was downplayed. I related to Haddie because just like her I made a surprise visit to my mom in the hospital when she went through her double masectomy. I did not tell my family I was coming because I feared that they would tell me not to.
Have you been tested for the BRCA gene mutation?
No. The doctors really feel that my mom’s cancer was caused by hormone replacement drugs she was on for ten years.
Has your mom’s experience with breast cancer taught you anything?
My mom’s diagnosis taught me that cancer can be beat. She is a survivor, still living cancer free since 1999. I am also no longer afraid of cancer. I have read a lot about cancer and have also decided that you can drive yourself crazy worrying about all of the things that may or may not cause cancer. Therefore I believe in early detection versus prevention because I refuse to live in fear. I think it is very possible that I will have a cancer diagnosis sometime in the future and plan to fight like a girl if and when that happens. I am constantly inspired by survivor stories of many that have already gone through this.
Amanda wanted to share this poem she wrote shortly after her mom’s diagnosis. I think it’s a lovely way to wrap up this month’s breast cancer series.
When I arrived home from spring break and heard your news,
The only thing I wanted to do was go home and hug you.
Three hours away, why’d you have to be so far?
But I decided you were worth it and got in my car.
On my way there I started to cry.
Thinking of the pain you’d go through and the chance that you’d die.
I quickly erased that thought out of my head,
And began to think happy thoughts instead.
I remembered all the times you were there for me,
When I needed a kiss because I’d skinned my knee.
I knew then everything would be OK,
And I will be there for you in every way.
But for now we just have to wait,
And see what will happen, leave it to fate.
God’s on our side, you wait and see,
Believe in him, he believes in you and our family.
As I pulled up into the drive,
I wondered if you were waiting for me to arrive.
I ran in the house and into your room,
Expecting to see a face full of gloom.
Instead you gave me a smile and a warm embrace,
And a huge smile grew across my face.
That hug told me you would be all right.
Will I worry again? Well, I might.