Monday Moms: No more likely than anyone else
By Shannon David
In 1997, my grandmother died of breast cancer. After 6 years of remission, she began to have trouble breathing. We learned that her cancer had returned and had metastasized to her lung. Within a year she had lost her battle.
My aunt is a breast cancer survivor of almost 20 years. My mother, an ovarian cancer survivor herself, lived in constant fear of “her turn” with breast cancer. After several scares and negative biopsies, my mother got the test to determine if she carried the BRCA mutation. She was beyond relieved to discover that she did not have a genetic predisposition to breast cancer, and therefore had not passed that on to me.
We were no more likely than anyone else to get breast cancer. And in fact, in my mind, I had rationalized that we were less likely. After my grandmother’s, my aunt’s and my mother’s personal battles with cancer, it seemed to me that it wouldn’t be fair. I don’t know what I was thinking – cancer is never fair.
On December 3rd, my mother called to tell me she has breast cancer. And just last week, on December 12th, she had a lumpectomy. In the new year she will begin radiation and start the fight once again.
I am grateful that her prognosis is good, that it was caught early, that treatment and detection have come so far since my grandmother lost her battle, and that, as an oncology nurse, my mother is an educated patient and advocate. And I am humbled to now know that “no more likely than anyone else” really means “just as likely as anyone else.”
No one deserves breast cancer, and no one is off the hook.