Have you thought about what makes someone strong? Is there a check list or a criteria one has to match in order to be considered strong? Does one person’s version of strong have to match another?
We all know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month right?! So everywhere we look, we see brands sporting pink. It’s very easy to donate here and there to show your support or show up to walk for Breast Cancer. It’s a little bit different when you watch your mother get diagnosed, go through and ultimately beat Breast Cancer. I’m so proud to team with Lane Bryant and their partnership with Breast Cancer Relief Foundation to open up about my mother’s battle with Breast Cancer.
I remember vividly when my mother told me she was diagnosed with breast cancer. it was a Saturday, and I stopped by because she and I were heading out to the park. When I walked in, she was in the middle of clean what was my room when I lived with her. (because mother always cleans on Saturday mornings) She promptly told me she had something important to tell me. Naturally I started wracking my brain thinking “uh oh what did I do”
She and I sat at her dining room table and she told me she when for her yearly mammogram and after going for a second opinion, she had stage 1 Breast Cancer. I don’t think my eyes could have gotten any wider. I was really at a lost for words (which is huge for me because I’m a motor mouth). What does one say when your parent tells you they have cancer. You’re not exactly jumping for joy and somehow no matter the words that come to mind in that moment, you find yourself utterly speechless.
In her true motherly fashion she did her best to lessen the blow by saying, the doctors thinks she’ll would be fine because they caught it early and that she had quite few options to help her beat it. From there it seemed like endless doctor visits, procedures, hoping for the best and prayers. She was in and out of Sloan Kettering Memorial Hospital; one of the best cancer research hospitals in the country. Invasive surgeries, bandages and scars was a way of life. I was in rotation along with my aunt and mother’s good friend taking turns draining tubes, changing bandages, bathing her and helping with everyday task.
She is my definition of strong. She could have let Breast Cancer get her down. She could have let herself slip into depression. She could have chosen to not seek help from one of the best cancer research hospitals in the country. She could have chosen to let the pain of her surgery keep her in bed or at home. She could have chosen to not try.
She showed up to every doctor’s appointment. She went through the bilateral mastectomy procedure. She went through breast reconstruction. She got up every day and walked even with the pain. She went to the gym, the second she was cleared for physical activity. She changed how she ate in order get her body back up to speed. She took back her life for herself because she needed to.
My mother is now 61 years young if you ask her lol. Each year post Breast Cancer she is getting stronger; physically and mentally. She’s hiking with friends, doing obstacle courses, taking care of her sister, actively participating in here church, and working hard in corporate America. She’s all over the place that I can’t even keep up with her sometimes. To be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way. For as long as I can remember, my mother didn’t sit still. She was always on the move; whether that meant, cleaning, going to the park, or just wanting to be outside etc.
Interestingly enough, never for one moment did I ever think that breast cancer would stop her from being who she is. It was almost like breast cancer was just a “thing” she had to deal with. Because she was determined from day one that she wasn’t going to lose this fight, she showed up and showed out at every possible moment. Talking to her nurses and doctors, the one common theme they all had to say about my mother was “she is ball of energy” She made their jobs easier because of her attitude. Many times they would pull me aside to say that she is a real fighter and that I should be proud. She literally laughed her way through all the pain.
She is a testament to a number of things for me. 1. Getting your yearly check ups and mammograms are an absolute must. Early detection is what saved her life. 2. There is life after something as devastating as breast cancer. 3. You can have your life back if you trust in yourself & whatever higher power you believe in. 4. Being healthy and strong has no size or age limit.
To be living her life unapologetically as she does, that is what I want in 30 years or so. I want to be healthy like her. Have friends who support me, still thriving, call my own shots, still fabulous and fly. Still STRONG.
This post and outfits are sponsored by Lane Bryant.