It’s not October anymore, but breast cancer still matters
Each month brings awareness to a specific illness. But, that should not be the only month we are recognizing these illnesses. These illnesses affect more people then you may think, and many emotions may come to mind.
Each day, more people are diagnosed with one of these illnesses. You may never truly realize how bad it is... until it happens to you or your family.
On November 10, 2015, is when I truly understood.
I can remember sitting down with my mother, sister, dad and grandmother after my mom had come home from the hospital after a long day of surgery. Little did I know, the surgery was the first step she had to take after being diagnosed with Breast Cancer.
I will never forget hearing the words “I have breast cancer”, coming out of my mom’s mouth.
That was the worst moment of my life. I was confused, devastated, scared and shocked.
That is something I never wanted or expected to hear coming from my mother.
I had many questions and I wanted to know the answers to all of them, because I was terrified.
My mom informed us that luckily, she was one of the luckier ones and the doctors caught it earlier than most do. She told us that she was going to be undergoing 8 weeks of radiation starting after Christmas. To be completely honest, I didn’t know what radiation really was and I was concerned; hearing that my mom was going to have to go through this every day.
After researching everything I needed to know about Breast Cancer, I found out what radiation was going to be like, and how I could really help my mom.
My family knew we really needed to step up to the plate and be there to support our mom. We needed to be there for her, just like she had always been there for us.
My dad had been her rock through it all, he really kept her together and helped her keep strong.
Along with my sister and I, who continued to help out around the house, and tried cooking dinner (even though it wasn’t nearly as good as her cooking), and we were always there for her and make sure she had everything she needed.
Each week, my sister and I would pick a day and go surprise my mom at radiation with flowers, a card or anything that we knew would cheer her up. We loved surprising her, and she loved when we went and sat with her until she was done.
One thing that stood out to me throughout the two months of radiation was that my mom was strong through the whole thing, and she really set an amazing example for my sister and I. Not once, did I see her give up, or say anything negative. She was so positive in such a negative situation, which showed how strong she is. She never gave up and continued on with her everyday life, went to work, and continued to care for us, no matter how she was feeling that day. My mom is truly my inspiration and I will always look up to her. She taught me that whenever things get tough, you don’t give up and you fight harder.
On February 16, 2016, after 8 long weeks of radiation, my mom’s last day of radiation came around. That is one day I will truly never forget. My sister, dad and I went with my mom for her final radiation and waited for her to be done. Seeing her walking out of radiation for the last time really brought tears to our eyes. My mom did it, she is a Breast Cancer survivor. We had our family over for dinner that night to celebrate, which meant so much to us. Throughout this process, we have learned one really important thing. We learned to appreciate the little things in life.
Although my family was faced with this terrible thing, we learned that good things do come out of every negative thing.
The good things that came out of this were that we have learned to not take things for granted, and we learned to appreciate the little things. It is nice when my family sits together at dinner, and often times I just sit back and smile and realize how much I appreciate my family and the wonderful meal that my mom prepares. This is something that is extremely important to realize in everyday life. There are so many things to be grateful for every day, you just need to sit back and realize that.
After my mom was officially a breast cancer survivor, we did not stop recognizing and bringing awareness to Breast Cancer.
In April of 2016, I started the group “Team Tanya” in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in Boston, MA. I wanted to give back, and also help all of the people who are affected by this, just like my mom.
I began to advertise my team that I dedicated to my mom, a breast cancer survivor. We were overwhelmed with the amount of support we received from family members, friends, and people in our community.
We started “Team Tanya” in April with just my mom, my dad, my sister and I with $100 raised towards this event. By the time the event came on October 2, 2016 we had over 30 walkers and were ranked #12 out of #650 teams for raising over $9,000.
Participating in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk was one of the best things I have ever done. Seeing everyone supporting my mom in “Team Tanya” t-shirts and just having everyone walking with us, supporting us, was truly amazing.
I loved seeing all of the people who participated in this event and seeing everyone in their team shirts supporting their loved ones. This event is truly amazing, and I am so thankful that I was able to participate in this.
The 2016 walk was successful, so we participated again in October of 2017. This year was just as amazing, and we are extremely grateful for our family and friends for once again joining us this year.
Walking across the finish line with my mom is something I will never forget. All of the emotions come to you all at once, right as you are crossing the finish line. That is when things really hit you. That is when I realized how lucky I am to have my mom to cross the finish line with me. My family and I are extremely lucky, along with all of the other groups who participated in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk.
For all of you who are diagnosed with these terrible illnesses, please be strong. Keep fighting, you can do anything as long as you believe in yourself. You got this!!
One thing my mom always said to me was “You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only option you have.” I will always remember that quote, and I know when things get rough, I can get through it. And this goes for anyone else who might be experiencing these feelings.
I truly am grateful for my mom, a Breast Cancer survivor.
I love you always, Mom.