I remember it like it was yesterday. My mother, Natalie, called my 4 younger siblings and I downstairs. She sat each of us down next to her, holding us tight. She then began to tell us that she had Stage IV Breast Cancer.
Stage. IV. Breast. Cancer.
It nearly took my breath away. I was only 11 years old at the time. What I knew about cancer was what I had seen on TV shows. And the little bit I saw was painful. I was trying to scramble to make sense of the news my mom had just told, but there wasn’t much time to process.
Because my mother’s cancer was so advanced, she had to go immediately into intensive treatments. She had a double mastectomy, and had rigorous weekly chemo treatments.
Standing side-by-side with my mom while she battled cancer became a norm for me. Sitting next to her in the chemo lab while she had a three-hour round of chemo became my Tuesday afternoons. Friday nights were filled with doing chores around the house.
I learned how painful cancer is, first hand. I saw my mother battle and fight this disease until her body said no. I was 16 years old when I saw cancer take away one of the people I loved the most in this world.
But I also learned two incredibly valuable things. Two things that I carry with me every single day. That propel my life forward no matter how many obstacles come in the way. I learned the true definition of perseverance, and I learned to love the Lord with all my heart, mind, and soul.
My mother never, ever quit during her fight with cancer. With every day that she had life, she lived to the fullest. She would have chemo from 9 to 12, run home and take a quick nap, then be in the car line by 3pm picking us up from school, would then rush us off to practices or games, run home in between to cook dinner, pick us back up from practices or games, help us with our homework, get us ready for bed, and pray over each one of her children. She did all of these things, battled Stage IV breast cancer, and was a single mother with 5 children under the age of 11. I’ve never seen a woman so courageous and brave in my life. She loved the Lord, and praised Him with all her might. Cancer wasn’t going to stop my mother.
I watched my mother exude faith, strength, courage, resiliency, and perseverance during the most difficult time of her life. I said to myself as a young girl that if my mother can thrive under these circumstances, and walk every day with her head held high then I have no excuse. I have no reason not to work hard in all that I do. To not give everything I have in every moment that I have. If I stumble, get back up. Obstacles will come but find a way over, through, around. Just never give up. Like my mother showed me on a daily basis, as long as I have life, I will live life to the fullest. I will love the Lord in the good times and the bad. And I will serve as many people as I can along the way I miss my mother every day. There are days I wish I could give her a hug or just tell her about my day. I carry her passion and will with me, and I will always remember what she taught me. I wish that she could be in the stands watching me play, but I know that she has the best seat in the house.
I miss my mother every day. There are days I wish I could give her a hug or just tell her about my day. I carry her passion and will with me, and I will always remember what she taught me. I wish that she could be in the stands watching me play, but I know that she has the best seat in the house.
Early detection is the best key to prevention. We have so many resources now that are in our arsenal when it comes to taking care of our bodies. We as women have to be advocates for ourselves. We know our bodies best, so we have to be [on] the front lines in battling this disease and do what we can to take care of ourselves first.