Saturday, November 17, 2018

I'm so thankful our family comes from hearty stock

I still have vivid memories of the night Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, the moment 30 years ago today that she came out of her anesthesia after her mastectomy, sitting with her at chemo, and repeatedly watching her take off her wig and remove her prosthetic after chemo so she could collapse into the sleep she needed to keep up the fight. But more importantly, I remember how she wouldn't let breast cancer control her life. I have even fonder memories of her traveling to DC--one of her favorite cities--with us, unflinchingly bearing the slight orange tint of a chemo patient. Of her volunteering for Reach to Recovery, a program that paired breast cancer survivors with new breast cancer patients to answer questions and act as survivor role models and give hope where often there didn't seem to be any. Of the pink-clothed and pink-fooded and the pink-everythinged celebration we had with family and friends to celebrate her 20-year survival milestone. And most importantly, I remember how we all chose to laugh instead of cry at the situation. It turns out that prosthetic breasts can be very funny, especially when they're used as a giant nose on a drawing of a face, when they make uncontrollable farting sounds against sweaty skin on a hot day, and especially when they're put away for the night on a stack of hotel towels, only to fly across the room and SPLAT! against the wall when the top towel is unknowingly pulled off the pile in semi-darkness. We're lucky as a family to have all of this--and to still have Mom with us as a living example for everyone that breast cancer CAN be beaten.

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