Letter to my Mommy
Over the past 17 months so much has happened in my life. My mom was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, Yes Breast Cancer. How is in the HELL did this happen? I’d like to share my story with all my readers.
Around August of 2016 my mom and I had a date day, we went to lunch then to a place called Painting with a Twist. We had a great day, full of fun, laughter and simply mother and daughter bonding. After we finished painting and we were departing my mom told me that he mammogram was a little abnormal and that her doctors wanted her to come in a be checked again. I remember immediately breaking out in tears and asking my mom what was wrong. She quickly reassured me that everything was fine and that it was “JUST A CHECK UP”. That was all the reassurance I needed. I stopped crying, hugged her and we departed ways.
Maybe a 1 week or 2 later My mom messages me and invited my husband, son and I over for dinner. I remember pulling up to my moms’ house and seeing few cars in the driveway. So I am thinking ok this is a family cook out. Everyone was there, my Mimi, my uncles, sisters, brother, dad, God mom and some of my moms’ friends. We had a great time laughing, fellowshipping, talking, eating and so much more. A few hours into the gathering my mom called everyone into the living room and said she needed to talk to us. I jokingly said, “Mom are you are pregnant?” She giggled and said no. She then said the scariest words I have ever heard “I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.” All the joy and laughter suddenly turned into tears, crying and gasps. I remember screaming “You lied to me”. I ran away crying and slammed the bathroom door. I was so hurt, scared, nervous and thinking of the worse possible outcome. Whenever I heard or thought of cancer my mind would automatically go to a negative place. Death clouded my mind. After I calmed down I realized my reaction was selfish, this was not about me it was about my mom. She needed me to be strong for her, she needed for me to be her back bone and lead the way. My mom knows me very well, she knew the day we went painting that she could not tell me that day. She knew it was not the right time or place to tell me such news. I wanted to add a little back story to explain why I told my mom that she lied to me.
“A couple of weeks earlier my mom told me she was going to a routine mammogram. So I am like OK! cool, since I know you are supposed to go get a mammogram annually after the age of 40, no alarm bells where going off. A week or so later my mom and I went on a mommy daughter date. We went to lunch and to Painting with a Twist. We had such a wonderful time that day. After we were done painting and about to part ways my mom told me that the Imaging center wanted to see her again for more testing. I immediately began to panic, tears were almost flowing, and I asked her wants wrong. My mom immediately said, “girl nothing I am fine”, and that it was just a routine checkup. I was filled with relief we hugged and parted ways. My mom knew at that time that she could not tell me about her diagnosis yet.”
My whole family was distraught and angry. Like how could something so tragic happen to the most precious person. A person of great dignity, strength, love, encouragement and pretty much the backbone of the family. I am not saying Cancer occurs in only bad people, but I could not understand how and why it attacked my mommy. After her diagnosis I cried a lot, whenever I would think about it even when I tried not to think about it; I would weep. I tried to stay strong in front of my mom, she needed me to be strong, she needed me to be her back bone. I tried my hardest to be that for her. I prayed and supported her the best way I knew how. Even when I was supposed to be strong for my mom, she was in return strong for me. Since I’ve been an adult, married and became a mother myself, my mommy and I have become more than mother and daughter, we became best friends. In saying that I was so scared that I was going to lose not only my best friend, but my mommy. I had to train myself to not speak and think negatively about the situation. Negatively thinking does not do anything but make you sad, lonely and depressed. I had to think positive, smile, pray and be confident that my mom would be ok. When I met her surgeons, I had so much more faith that everything would turn out amazing. Her surgeon wasn’t “Dry and Boring”, they were personable, kind, loving and knowledgeable. They made me feel so much better, they interacted with my mom like they were good friend catching up on lost time.
My mom choose to get a DOUBLE MASTECTOMY- Mastectomy is a way of treating breast cancer by removing the entire breast and tissue through surgery (Mastectomy Mayo Clinic 1 Feb 2018). Her surgeons placed expanders where her breast was, the expander does just that EXPAND. Ever so often, her surgeon would fill the expanders with saline; this was done to stretch the skin to prepare for reconstructive surgery. I vividly remember her first night home, I tried my hardest to make sure she was comfortable and was taking her pain medicine on time. That first night we both over slept and missed the time to take her next pain pill. My mom woke up in excruciating pain, she was in tears. I felt like I failed her because I was supposed to be the one to make sure she took all her medication on time. After that I made it my business even If I wasn’t with her, it was my business to make sure she took all her medication on time.
My mom had drains placed in her breast to drain any access fluid. So, we all learned how to sweep the drains to make sure it was draining properly and not clogging. We had to squeeze the top of the drain that was closest to her incision with one hand and then with your other thumb and index finger squeeze and slide it down the rest of the drain to empty the fluid inside the drainage tube. My mom hated it, but it had to be done. Over the next year I watched as my mom went through Chemo and Radiation. It is hard for me to speak about it because so much changed in that year, both mentally and physically. From hair loss, darkening of the skin, loosing feeling in fingers/feet to not being happy with what you see in the mirror. It was so hard to watch, I could not do anything to help you physically. But I did what I could, because with or with hair she was stunning. With or without eye brows she was unbelievably strong, with or without finger/toe nails she was recognizable walking with her head held high. Even when her skin was noticeable darker, she was my sunshine on a cloudy day. Even when she was tired and weak she was stronger than the HULK. SaBrina Richard is a phenomenal woman and I am proud to call her my Super hero, my confidant and my inspiration.
Over all my mom’s Cancer Diagnoses brought our family together. We now spend more time together because every moment is precious and worth the time spent. Sharing memories of the past and present, cherishing each moment, fellowshipping and just being here for one another: It all means the World to me. I am so happy my mom is here to enjoy life with us and watch her grand babies grow up.
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