This is something I never imagined that I would ever have to write. Unfortunately, in the world we currently live in, it seems as if we all know someone who has been touched in some way by cancer. The journey is not an easy one. I know this because my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer just a couple of months ago.

When we first received the news, it did not seem real. It seemed as if someone was playing a cruel joke, or that it was a dream that had gone awry. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer after it had advanced to the point that the only option was a double mastectomy. Essentially, the only way to give my mother a fighting chance was the immediate removal of both breasts, in hopes of completely removing the tumors. Everything happened very quickly from that point on. Our only choice was to see it through. My mother was so incredibly brave, and boldly willing to go through with such an operation. She is young. She still has a lot of life left to live, and she did not want to let this cut her time on Earth short. My mother has approached every single obstacle head on. I truly cannot imagine a braver woman.

I do not tell this story to garner sympathy, nor am I seeking special treatment for my family. Telling our story raises awareness, and shows that yes, the unbelievable can happen to you – just like it happened to us. One lesson that I have learned throughout this entire fight is the importance of courage and perseverance. We do not choose the cards we are dealt, our only option is to handle the situations that are placed before us. I firmly believe that God does not give us anything that we cannot handle, and that motto has not failed me yet.

The battle is hard, and the future often looks dim and unpleasant but we can get through it, and I know that we will. If you can relate in any way to my story, I encourage you to be proactive. You cannot will the cancer away. I know, because I have spent many nights hoping and praying for a better diagnosis. What you can do is be present. Be there for your loved ones, and lend a helping hand. No one can look positively on such a diagnosis, however what you can do is look toward the future. Do your homework. Research how to help your loved one, and look into what you can do to make them more comfortable, or to take their mind off things. Being a ray of light in an otherwise cloudy and dismal situation can do more good than anyone may realize. Another very important lesson that I have learned throughout this entire process is how truly small and unimportant some things are in life. There are greater things to worry about and concern yourself with than petty situations or drama that often seems to consume our every thought. Life is so incredibly short. Living each day to the fullest is something that we could all work on. Enjoy each and every day, and wake up each more with a positive mindset.

All women should be proactive. Get checked regularly, especially if you already have someone in your family that has been affected by cancer. You are more than twice as likely to develop cancer if someone in your immediate family has it. It is not something to be pushed aside and ignored. Being proactive and vigilant is the best thing you can do for yourself. Do not let this message stop with you. Remind loved ones and friends to get checked. Be aware of any changes in your body. 

Life is hard, no one said it was going to be easy. Remember, tough situations do not last, but tough people do. Be kind to people, you do not know the battle they may be facing.

Joleen T
FFL Contributor
Joleen is a Contributor at FFL. She enjoys reading, going to Chipotle, and drinking copious amounts of coffee. You can find her at the library, or studying for the LSAT. Her goal is to become a lawyer, and eventually run for public office. Her role models are Nikki Haley and Sandra Day O’Connor.

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