There’s a weight that comes with the word “cancer.” It’s as if time stops, and for a moment, nothing else matters. My grandparents battled against cancer and lost when I was young, and when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, our world changed.
But my family has always believed in facing challenges head-on. We got together and after advice from others, realized the road ahead would be intricate, laden with medical terms and raw emotions. Since I had the most flexible schedule and my kids were older, I stepped in to be the meeting notetaker to capture details about the doctor, the procedure and aftercare. Past experiences had shown us that in moments of vulnerability, it’s easy to miss the nuances—details that could make all the difference.
Our first doctor? A total miss. To be honest, I thought he was an asshole. His approach was less than desirable and there was no concrete aftercare plan he followed. Instead of having a team approach, it felt like a disjointed jigsaw puzzle where no two pieces fit together.
We needed to move on.
Then, my sister was able to get my mom into a doctor at the Cleveland Clinic Breast Center. Their team radiated warmth, expertise, and an intuitive understanding of what families like ours needed. It wasn’t just about the medicine; it was about knowing they had a cohesive plan from start to finish, and that my mom wasn’t just another number to them.
My mom has always been an incredibly strong woman, and today, thankfully, she’s stronger than ever. Her journey from diagnosis to survivor has been our guiding light, showcasing the importance of tenacity, love, and above all, hope.
A Reality Check: Each year, an overwhelming 240,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in women and 2,100 in men in the United States. About 42,000 women and 500 men in the US die each year from breast cancer. But amid this staggering number is a silver lining: advancements in research and a focus on early detection have enhanced survival outcomes. It’s a gentle reminder that vigilance, intertwined with hope and action, can rewrite futures. Always hold onto hope and cherish those around you; they are the lifelines that see us through the toughest battles.