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My mother said, “I have been diagnosed with breast cancer,” with a frightened voice followed by a facial expression of fear. I replied after a moment of silence in an anxious tone, “Everything is going to be okay don’t worry” and went over to hug her. That night I went to bed thinking about how I hadn’t appreciated my mother enough as I should have, and I could lose her at any given moment.
The next day, I made some research on what breast cancer was since I wasn’t very informed on this topic all I knew is that when I heard the word cancer the thought of death raced immediately into my mind. However, after the research I had done I found out it could be cured if detected at an early stage or could be found deadly since its tougher to treat cancer at an later stage.
The next few days, were the hardest because my family and I were all trying to adapt to my mother diagnose of breast cancer. We would all keep reminding ourselves everything would turn out to be fine, but in reality we were worried about my mother’s health. The disease didn’t only affect my mother, it affected my entire family especially me.
I was deeply affected by it since I was barely attending my first year of college. As a result, I fell into depression, my grades started dropping, and I constantly had the feeling of losing my mother. The thought of losing my mother didn’t make sense to me, therefore I wasn’t sure if I could handle it.
This brought me memories about her visits to the doctor previously to the results, after the ultrasound and mammogram showing the tumors being abnormal, I didn’t think much about it and thought the tumors would turn out to be benign. It was until after her biopsy that she was detected with breast cancer stage two which meant her chances increased of surviving this deadly disease, and I learned to appreciate her more than I previously had.
The next week, she had her first appointment with the oncologist Dr. Satish D Desai who said, “ Mrs. Fernandez, surgery isn’t an option you need to go through chemotherapy first to shrink the tumors size then we will follow up with surgery”. I didn’t want my mother to get chemotherapy I was against it ,because chemotherapy is a very strong dangerous drug with a lot of side effects which can outweigh the benefits.
Eventually, I gave up and accepted the fact that chemotherapy was the best option in order for her to get cured from breast cancer. The following appointment she got her first chemo session I remember after that she felt fatigue and was lying in bed the entire day, as well as her loss of appetite she refused to eat.
The following weeks, my mother began to lose her hair due to chemotherapy and began to use beanies as well as wigs to hide her loss of hair that was when her illness really hit me. This was very hard for her to accept she felt insecure without her hair, I tried helping her gain some confidence back, and change her way of thinking by shaving my head so she would not feel alone.
I began to help my mother with chores I would cook food for her occasionally when she was weak from the chemotherapies. I began to depend more on myself rather than my parents which was a great feeling.
After her chemo sessions were over it was time for surgery I remember she was nervous since it was her first time dealing with anesthesia and I tried comforting her right before surgery by telling her “Mom, don’t worry you’re strong you will be fine”.
The surgery went well, and she followed up by getting radiation therapy which weren’t as bad as chemo sessions. Although, she suffered some side effects like severe burns due to radiation, but it was all worth it because after everything she went through she was cancer free words couldn’t explain the happiness I felt that day.
Unfortunately my happiness didn’t last long after a year of being cancer free, my mother noticed a mysterious hard lump under her armpit. She followed up by getting a mammogram and ultrasound which showed the lump to be abnormal once again that required a biopsy for more accurate results.
After the biopsy, sadly the results showed it to be cancer once again I was frightened that this time the cancer would have spread to other areas like lungs, liver, and brain which meant it would be tougher to treat. Fortunately, it turned out the cancer hadn’t spread to other areas besides her armpit which meant this time chemotherapy and radiation therapy weren’t needed just surgery which was a relief.
Now two years later, my mom is once again cancer free. All these past experiences brought us together more than we previously were and made me appreciate her more. Fortunately she is doing great, and because of that experience I am now the individual I am today I have grown both emotionally and mentally. This event taught me that life is short, and I need to be grateful and appreciate more the people around me.
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