Hello people! My name is Robin, although I’d prefer to be the Joker, but Mom didn’t ask me. Heehee. I just thought I could tell you my Mom’s whole breast cancer experience -- through my eyes.
When my Mom first drove me down to the bay with my favorite McDonald’s meal and told me she had bad news, I’m not lying when I say the first thing that popped in my mind was that she had cancer of some kind. Well, I had two thoughts: Cancer or one of our dogs dying. It was more like a million thoughts were going in my mind at once; I didn’t know what she was going to say. Even after she told me that my secret assumption was right, I still cried. It was like a giant bullet called Cancer the Annihilator shot me straight through the brain. But after she explained everything to me and reassured me, I calmed down and resumed eating my cheeseburger. It wasn’t that hard after she told me. I honestly didn’t have any fear that she was in grave danger. I forced it not to come into my mind.
The hardest thing I had to cope with was probably all the stuff she was going through as part of her treatment. Chemotherapy. Radiation…being behind concrete walls with a 4,000 lb. door just to keep in what they were putting into my Mom. I was afraid that the chemo would somehow go wrong in her body or really hurt her. Did you know that if chemo drugs are spilled it requires a hazardous material clean-up agency to come in and clean it up like toxic waste? Whoa.
After I shaved her head, and saw my Mom with no hair, I was shocked. I eventually got used to it and even grew fond of her new hairstyle, and the brave statement it made - “I went through cancer. What did you do?” I did wonder what strangers would think when they saw a bald lady walking across the street. I knew most would think she was going through cancer treatment, but others might think she’s weird or something. I didn’t care what they thought though. Bullets and axes can break my bones but words will never hurt me. When she was flat chested, it was another thing to get used to, and now I’ve almost forgotten what she used to look like with her long blond hair and big boobs.
I want to tell you, if your Mom or whoever is diagnosed with breast cancer, don’t freak out. You might be afraid at some point, and wonder what will happen, but the best thing you can do is stand by her side and help her get through it. To help myself, I told some of my friends, and my favorite English teacher. My Dad and my brother and I all wore pink ribbon pins for a long time, every day. Let your Mom explain things to you; some of it will comfort you, other things won’t. I know if it weren’t for our family, she wouldn’t have made it through. Any Mom facing breast cancer needs all the support she can get. I think I helped my Mom the most when I was her gopher for anything she needed, did more around the house, kept her company, and was her Jester!
One thing I learned about my Mom that I hadn’t known before was her spunk. I knew my Mom had “balls”, but man, this proves it even more. She walked in the Relay for Life, and has helped a lot of people writing this extremely successful blog of hers. She went through having a toxic chemical loaded into her, her boobs scooped out, being radiated, and the loss of two of her favorite trademarks about her self, her hair and boobs! I don’t know anyone else who could have gotten through it better, with such a positive attitude as hers. I’m really proud of her for that. Even after all of this treatment, prodding and poking, she still came out with a smile on her face. I know a lot of that was because of me! And the rest of my family.
This changed me a lot. I look at my Mom now in a completely different way. I now see her as the lady who went through nine months of breast cancer treatment. And that lady is my Mom! When I become a famous marine biologizing author, everyone will say, “Oh, did you know Robin’s Mom had breast cancer? And she wrote this super cool book about it? Let’s go give her five million dollars!” [Son, from your mouth ...]
Most of all, it made me love her more, even though I missed my “fro” when I cut it off for her. It was the least I could do to show her "You can do it Lady!"
With whatever I have accomplished and however I have failed and whatever is still out there for me, there is no greater thing I will ever do in this life than have, and love, and teach these boys.