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Breast Cancer Awareness Month October 12, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — katy @ 6:12 pm

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I was 8 the first time my mother got breast cancer and in 3rd grade. My mom was 39 years old. While I don’t remember much, I do remember teachers and parents asking how my mother was and not knowing what they were talking about. Fifteen years later, she got it again. I was in Alaska at the time volunteering for the year at a domestic violence shelter. As I was older and better able to understand, I researched it as best I could and decided I needed to come home to be there for my mom and family. The prognosis didn’t look good. I truly feared she might die. When my parents met me at JFK airport, the first thing my mom said to me was, “I’m fine. Go back to Alaska.”

I know she didn’t want me changing my life because of her. I loved Alaska. I had been offered a job at the shelter as Education and Outreach Coordinator and I was contemplating another year of volunteering as a Legal Advocate in Bethel, Alaska. But I knew I should be at home. Of course, I did nothing but drive my mother crazy. Maybe she needed a bit of that too—something to live for and argue about. My mother is a remarkably strong woman. Sometimes too strong…

She had radiation and five years of Tamoxifen. She had undergone surgery and chemotherapy the first time. As I said, my mother is a very strong woman. I am so grateful for all that I have learned from her. We have certainly had our fair share of disagreements—as mothers and daughters do. But I am so grateful that she did her self exams. Please remember to do your self exams and have your mammograms.

And Mom, I love you.


11 Responses to “Breast Cancer Awareness Month”

  1. Katy,
    You’re not supposed to make me cry into my coffee cup first thing in the morning! Just kidding…I was relieved to read at the end of your post that your Mom is well. I will remember to do self exams and mammograms, and remind my Mom and my girlfriends to do the same.
    Thank you for sharing your story!

  2. Annie Says:

    Great post, Kathleen. My mom was 31 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. One mastectomy with reconstruction years later, and she has remained cancer-free. It’s important for women to remember to do those self-exams & get your mammograms!

  3. jody Says:

    thanks for the post (and the kick in the a**!). glad to hear your mom kicked some butt!

    my mom has had partial mastectomies and reconstruction on both breasts. she hasn’t had a relapse in 15 years! quite a few aunts and cousins as well, so i really should be more diligent about the self exams.

  4. Jo Says:

    Can’t resist the chance to beg prayers for a friend who is recently diagnosed with more bone metastases and chest wall metastases again. Been a four year struggle that has lasted since her only daughter started college. Two mastectomies, radiation, complications involving yet more surgery, multiple rounds of chemo, and here she goes again, for more chemo.

  5. Margene Says:

    It is great to know your story of Alaska (as you have mentioned you lived there) and the story of your mother. She is a true thriver! Blessings to you both.

  6. Orli Says:

    Thank you for writing this. This makes me feel better about my self and my relationship with my mother, which I think is similar to yours.
    Please go visit
    My mother I’m afraid did not make it. Similar story, 1st time when I was 15, in 1988, 2nd time when I was 29, in 2001…she got chemotherapy on both occasion. She under went two mastectomies. Though at first we thought it was behind us…in 2002 we were advised that she needed more chemotherapy just to be on the safe side…I firmly belive that my mother beat the cancer, however she had chronic lung disease and I think the chemotherapy only made her health detiriorate , but it was a two aged sword…do you ignore the possiblity of the cancer returning in order to avoid detiriration of the lungs or do you treat the cancer and hope the lungs can take it…
    I need to belive the dr’s knew what they were doing.
    I’m always happy to learn about the good cases.
    Take care,
    PS> Iv’e been told that I can’t have a mamogram till I’m 40.

  7. Collette Says:

    Katy, thanks for sharing your story. This is my “year” for my first mammogram. Thanks for the reminder.

  8. Mary Beth Says:

    Thanks Kathleen! We all need reminders. I’ve got a family history… Thanks for sharing your story. And thanks for the yarn tips!

  9. chris Says:

    What a great story. I know Moms and Daughters have issues, that’s why I am not looking forward to the teen years since I will live it twice.

    My knitting room is actually my sitting room, so it’s not out in the open, thank goodness. Otherwise I would never invite people over because of the mess!

  10. Sue Katy's Mom Says:

    Thank you for that Katy, I love you too!
    I wish I could say that in the 26 yrs since my 1st bout I’ve seen big advances in BC, it just isn’t so.
    BSE, Mammograms,(those of you old enough, cough, cough)read up, Dr. Susan Love’s book, gave me the where with all to FIGHT for radiation the 2nd bout.
    Take care, all of you.

  11. Melissa Says:

    Thank you for sharing what I hope will encourage more women to get their yearly Mammograms.
    Thank you for the costume. Monkey would love it. He wears the clearance red one all the time. Tell your son Thank you for sharing what I know will make my little one very happy.


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