I don’t speak of it often, but every October is extra special to me. This is when I celebrate my mom’s fight against breast cancer. I was a child of divorced parents and at the age of 5 was gifted another mother in my life. My mom Linda, she was always the glue that held us together for holidays, birthdays and during times of crisis. We would turn to mom in every situation, as children do. My mother never complained about anything and always gave unconditional love, even after a long day working. As I began my college years, I was home less frequent. Later I learned that my mom had began to get sick more often and saw doctors frequently. My parents hid what was occurring until they had a diagnosis and my mother underwent full mastectomy with lymph node removal for breast cancer. She has developed two aggressive cancer types and would undergo chemotherapy. Fast forward five years and my mom was celebrating cancer free status. We all continued with our lives, we walked yearly with Susan G Komen and celebrated my mom’s strength. Little did we know her cancer was sleeping and working on a comeback. My mom began seeing doctors about pain in her legs and hips. My parents were always secretive about my mom’s struggles and hid her daily pain.
My life was moving forward and one day I called my parents to announce I was having a baby. My parents were overjoyed and excited. We decided to tell the whole family during family reunion in Las Vegas. The day I arrived at the reunion I could tell my mom was moving slower than normal but figured she was tired from the flight. My dad took me on a long walk that night on the Las Vegas strip. Under the lights and noise of everyone he held my hand and told me “mom’s cancer is back and this time its come for all of her” I was shocked, confused and couldn’t understand what my dad was saying to me. “What do you mean mom isn’t cancer free?” My dad went on to explain that her cancer had reappeared in her bones and was spreading through her entire body. With all his strength my dad said, “mom doesn’t want this to be a bad thing, this is the circle of life. We feel you’re bringing new life and mom is passing on to her next life.”
I was angry with my dad and most of what he continued to say made no sense. How could he be so positive, talk like we were giving up?… My dad took my hand and told me all us kids need to be strong for mom because that’s what she needs. He also asked that we announce the growing family together. Returning to the house, I went to my mom to comfort her with love, but also not show her my own feelings of anger. That night at dinner my dad took at the table and announced the return of my mom’s cancer (a silence fell around the table) then shared he also had good news (as faces looks at him baffled), “my daughter will be welcoming our grandson in October.”
October came and my mom was continuing weekly chemotherapy treatments to fight her cancer. It was important to my mom to be present when I gave birth. My mom in her strength convinced her doctor to skip three treatments of chemotherapy to be present for her grandson’s birth and help me through the transition. It was especially important to my mom that my dad understood how precious time and life is, so he needed to be there for his grandson at any cost. My mom celebrated my son at every turn and saw him walk, talk and count on her snuggles.
As an adult my mom was hugely supportive of sports, I was passionate about CrossFit. I competed in my first Barbells for Boobs event doing Grace (30 clean and Jerks for time) wearing socks saying “I love you” in honor of my mom fighting breast cancer. I have worn those socks every year I have completed in barbells for Boobs and always dedicated my workout to my mom. Never letting go of the barbell because of the hurt, tiredness or pain I felt, and reminding myself of the pain my mom had survived . My mother passed away in her home in July 2012 surrounded by family and friends. My mom missed all the incredible accomplishments I made in CrossFit, but I’ve always felt her presence. This October I will celebrate my sixth Barbells for Boobs event. As always, you might see intensity and emotion when the clock counts down 3,2, 1, GO. I do it to honor my mother, I raise money to increase awareness and I do it to never forget that cancer sucks but I will continue to fight every day. There will always be void in my children’s and my life without my mom. I’ve made peace with costs and benefits however there is still fight that must go on. I ask you to donate to Barbells for Boobs to help save another daughter, mother, grandmother that could have another day if only they had known sooner about their diagnosis.
Click here to help save another life https://fundraise.barbellsforboobs.org/team/128699