Sunday will mark the 1o-year anniversary of my mom's mastectomy. It seems fitting that it is Easter Sunday, a day of renewed life and hope and joy.
In early 1997, my mom found a lump in her left breast. Unfortunately, due to the fact that she would soon be transitioning from my dad's COBRA policy (which she'd been on since my parents' divorce) to a policy at her new job, there was going to be a roughly three-week gap in her insurance coverage.
She knew that if she brought the lump to her doctor's attention during that time or before her new insurance kicked in, there was a possibility they wouldn't cover treatments if it did turn out to be cancer.
So she waited for two months, all the while knowing in her heart that she had breast cancer.
When she finally told her doctor, he acted very quickly, scheduling a mastectomy within a month of her initial visit, about three weeks after the biopsy results.
My sister was living with my dad and his new wife (my stepmom Sandy) at the time, so it was just my mom and me at home to deal with this. That's part of why we've always been close; we were thrown together during one of the hardest times of our lives, left with only each other to lean on.
I remember the day of the surgery. Lots of people came to the hospital to wait with me. (Strangely, I can't remember whether or not my sister was there.) Friends from church, a couple of pastors, the mom of one of my good friends.
Thankfully, after a summer of extremely intense and difficult chemotherapy treatments, a breast reconstruction surgery, and several years of Tamoxifin, my mom is still cancer-free after 10 years.
I can't even describe how thankful I am that she is still cancer-free. In fact, thankful hardly seems like a strong enough word. I am grateful from the depths of my being. It is a huge, huge blessing, and I am so glad she is still here and still healthy.
Happy 10-Year Cancer-Free Anniversary, Mama!