When my mother was first diagnosed with breast cancer I was only two years old, my mother only 29. I don’t have many memories of that time, aside from trying on her wigs while she went through chemotherapy. My mother was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy paired with chemotherapy. After her treatment the doctor declared she was in remission and life went on. We were a military family, my father a flight engineer in the Air Force, so we moved around and for most of my youth it was my mom and I. My dad was always flying missions, and my mother was left to take care of me while working full time. One night my mother was driving home from work and was in a car accident. She was rushed to the ER where they ran some tests, including a CAT Scan. The scan didn’t come back well, showing that my mom had a brain tumor. Not long after, she had surgery to have the tumor removed and treatment began. She went through radiation afterwards and things were looking good.
The years went by, we moved a couple times, and she had to receive her MRIs less frequently. I started getting older and was finally about to graduate high school and begin college. The week of my high school graduation in 2007 my mom had gone into the doctor to get a MRI of her sinuses because she had been having allergy problems. We didn’t expect for the results to come back showing a new brain tumor. Later that summer she had surgery to have it removed and began chemotherapy again. Since 2007 she has been battling brain cancer. She has had two more brain surgeries, undergone different chemotherapies from Avastin to Temodar, and multiple Gamma Knife radiation treatments. The side effects aren’t so pretty but we’ve found that the way we get through things is with laughter. My parents and I all have a sense of humor and try to make light of the situation. We figure laughing is better than feeling sorry for yourself. Throughout my life I have never heard my mom complain about anything, not once. She is always there for me, helping me with whatever I need. She takes care of my dad, myself, and our dogs sometimes when I know she has to be tired and not feeling well. I simply don’t know how she does it. I wouldn’t be who I am today without her, she has loved me even when I haven’t been at my best and has shaped my character for the better. She is my best friend, my hero, my mom and I am so lucky to have her in my life.
Author: Stephanie Farrell
Bio: Stephanie Farrell is a student at MTSU and currently lives in Murfreesboro, Tenn.