Women derive confidence from a variety of sources, some external and some internal. Great women from all walks of life give me confidence for many reasons, but no woman inspires me like my mother.
Cancer, more specifically according to the Susan G. Komen website breast cancer affects, "In 2016, it is estimated that among U.S. women there will be : 246,660 new cases of invasive breast cancer (This includes new cases of primary breast cancer among survivors, but not recurrence of original breast cancer among survivors.) 61,000 new cases of in situ breast cancer (This includes ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS). Of those, about 83 percent will be DCIS. DCIS is a non-invasive breast cancer and LCIS is a condition that increases the risk of invasive breast cancer . Learn more about DCIS and LCIS.) 40,450 breast cancer deaths."
Friends of mine have become survivors, some of my close friends have lost their mothers, and I have even buried a distant relative after she lost her fight to breast cancer. This motivates me to participate in Race for the Cure annually and donate to this cause that affects all women. However, it didn’t really impact me to my core until it was my mother.
Hearing that she had breast cancer was like being dropped from a cliff and the impact was just as hard. She has level 0 DCIS; which is a contained non-aggressive form. Through three lumpectomies it did not spread, but every time they found more. Every time the surgeon delivered that news it was like a dagger to the heart. I wanted my mother to get a mastectomy after the first lumpectomy did not work, especially after reading the literature and talking with my close friend (we had already buried her mother two years earlier after she lost her battle).
However, my mother was not prepared to let go of her right breast; so as frustrating as it was I was there through every lumpectomy, every appointment, every surgeon (we’re on surgeon two now) and every time I had to watch the light in her eyes get a little dimmer when we got negative results. Finally, she had her mastectomy and the night before I was talking with a close friend and she enlightened my point of view and gave me an increase understanding.
I was telling her I could not understand why my mother was so adamant about keeping her breast if it was going to hinder or inhibit her quality of life and even possibly end her life. I asked her did she think she or myself would be so attached when presented with those options. Her simple response was yes; they are a source of confidence. I was mildly offended thinking my breasts are not my identifiers. Then she replied that no, they are not the sole source of confidence but do play a large part in a woman’s confidence. I thought about that and how proud I was as a little girl when my breasts began to bud and I admire the way clothes fit my womanly curves. It made me realize yes as a woman breasts are an identifier and to lose one is devastating and can take time to come to terms with. I am proud of my mother and have developed a new sense of confidence that lets me know with or without them I AM A SURVIVOR.