One of my most vivid memories as a child was not a pleasant one. My younger siblings, Madison and Mitchell, and I were sitting around a white kitchen table after school one day in our home in Boca Raton, Florida. My mother, who was 38 at the time, was also sitting in a green chair and had her head down, and it was my father who said to us, “Your mother is sick.” As a 10-year-old, that is not something you really understand. She had been sick a bunch of times before, but it lasts a couple of days and then she’s back to normal. What’s the big deal? She looks healthy. Why are they so sad?
When you look at a seemingly healthy person who has just been diagnosed with cancer, it is impossible to imagine the cancerous cells putting up a silent fight in their body. It wasn’t until she had a mastectomy and chemotherapy that her appearance started to change, as did her wardrobe and her energy levels. The one thing that never changed was her resolve. She was determined to fight no matter how much energy it took out of her, fight for her life, and for her children. After some time had passed, she went into remission and life as we knew it returned to normal.
For a few years, we lived a relatively normal life, but I’m sure my mother always lived in fear. It’s not something I had ever asked her, but every appointment, blood draw, or mammogram had to give her anxiety about the results, hoping for another clean bill of health. And then one agonizing day, she got the news that the cancer had returned, more aggressively than before.