In honor of breast cancer awareness month, I decided to have a few guest writers tell their experience with breast cancer. The following is what Lindsey, a girl I went to school with & cheered on our high school football team, went through. I hope you can appreciate this for what it's worth, just as I have.
"My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998. She was only 33-years-old. I was 8. She'd found a lump in her breast and a doctor told her it was nothing to worry about. He called it a "fifth rib."
About four months later she went back to him. He did a biopsy in his office. The next week she was given 6 months to live. Yes, six months. She started chemotherapy soon after. She was always sick from chemo and had to shave her head. Her best friend and myself made her get a wig. It took hours because she didn't want one. She was a hairdresser with very long hair. She finally picked one and named it Trixie.
She went into remission for a year, but then it came back. She started having seizures; one happened when I was home alone with her and I had to call 911. She was diagonsed with brain cancer, cancer of the lumbar spine and liver cancer. That was when she quit smoking. She had smoked since she was a teenager. Well, with the other types of cancer, she had to do radiation, take 15+ pills a day and have surgery. And more chemo. This went on four years.
In 2002, we moved from Jamestown to Falconer after she'd sued the doctor for malpractice and won. She was getting worse and worse. My mom was 4'11 and weighed 98lbs. She suddenly gained 20lbs. It was fluid filling her abdomen, killing her. The cancer was going everywhere. She stayed in the hospital for around 2 weeks and all she wanted to do was come home. I knew she was going to die, but I was 12 and didn't get along with my dad at all...so, I refused to believe what was happening. Hospice nurses came to our house to care for her. My father (who I didn't get along with at the time, but have since re-kindled a relationship with) went to work. I wanted to help the nurses care for her, so I gave her baths and played music for her. Still, she went into a coma in her bed. Two days after coming home, the nurse came into my living room to tell me, my grandma and my uncle to say, "Lori has passed on."
All I could do was stare at her for a minute, then I ran into my mom's room. She was gone. And I was crying. I called my dad and told him, then i called my best friend. We made arrangments and I picked out a pink casket since it all started with breast cancer. No twelve-year-old should ever have to arrange a funeral. I handled it better than my family because I'd had time to get used to the idea, since I was eight I knew this would happen. Because of this, I will never smoke and I've already starting getting mamagrams. Every year, I have a team at the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life in honor of her."
Breast cancer is something that, if goes undiagnosed, can lead to serious consequences. Lori (Lindsey's mom) deserves to be honored in more than one way. Although she did think something was wrong, modern medicine will hopefully not let things like this happen again. It is our job, though, to be preventative. We need to self-exam & make it a point to have mammograms.
Have you had yours?