Mommy isn't Sick
for those of you who don’t know me, my name is Raelene but my friends call me Rae. I have a good job, a nice house, a wonderful husband and a beautiful six month old daughter, Clara. I’m 28 years old, a new mom on maternity leave. Sounds perfect, right? It was, until September 23, 2019 when I had some scans done and was told the lump I found (that I thought was just related to breastfeeding) was likely cancer. A 95% chance it looked to be breast cancer. After a biopsy and the longest week of my life I was diagnosed with breast cancer. AT 28.
You’re probably thinking “but she’s so young”. That’s true. Or maybe, “you have a baby, that’s not fair”. Also true! It most definitely is not fair, that I can accept but cancer isn’t fair no matter how old you are or how good of a person you are. Let’s get one thing clear here CANCER FUCKING SUCKS!! It doesn’t give a shit about your age or how together you have your life. I did nothing to deserve this - NO ONE DOES.
It’s been a very long month, so many tests and so much anxiety waiting for the results of those tests. Today I did learn that the cancer has not spread past the lymph nodes under my arm. That was a win, it’s not terminal, good. Waiting and letting the worst thoughts run through your head is most definitely the worst part so far. Being constantly afraid that I won’t be there for my little girl is about the worst feeling a mother could ever have. Is that fear still there in the back of my mind, yes of course. I know though the odds look good, I have the most aggressive form of breast cancer which just means it grows quickly but the doctors say they caught it early and that the goal is to cure. It’s also the more rare type of breast cancer (only about 20% of breast cancer cases are the same as mine). One of those cases was my mom, 7 years ago. She beat it, so can I. I am hopeful, most of the time, especially today. I start chemo on Monday and today I know it is not in any major organs.
I know it is possible to get past this. I know it will be the hardest thing I have ever done. Not only do I have to fight cancer, I have to also be a kick ass mother at the same time. A mother who is still figuring out how to be a mother. I don’t want to miss things even though I know that isn’t completely realistic. I may not be able to do all of the things I want with my daughter before her first birthday but I will be there. At the end of the day I just have to remind myself that’s what matters, her having her mommy.
I wanted to start this blog because the resources and support for young mothers with cancer is underwhelming! I’ve searched, cancer is expected to be an older person's disease. I have been lucky to have other women reach out to me to say they know someone who went through a similar situation and even one who went through the same thing and offered support. There is very little out there on how to handle cancer with a baby. There are resources to help you tell your children but we aren’t there, she won’t understand why Mom won’t be there as much. Which in a way I am very thankful for that, I don’t have to try to explain it to her but it's also going to be hard to be a good mom through all of this and I fear for her. I have amazing support I know that, my husband is a fucking superstar. Our families have already done so much and our friends are outstanding. My mom went through this so that is a huge help, but she didn’t have a baby at the time. This is a different dynamic than what a large majority of people with cancer face. Raising a family and dealing with such a huge fight. I know things are going to happen that I can’t even imagine right now. There will be so many different emotions and I already feel sorry for my daughter, this is not how her first year of life was supposed to go. I know the drugs will make me sick and it will be hard but I don’t want to be a “sick person”, I don’t want to be considered sick I want to be considered fighting. That’s what this is, a fight. I hope you will all stick around and read through my journey; the good, the bad and the ugly. I want people to be aware of the effects cancer has on everyone and to not be so naive to think it will never happen to you. I know I was. So do your self exams, get a yearly checkup done. I did, and I’m still here but I think we forget how important these things are. I want to raise as much awareness as possible and honestly, I just want to find ways to help myself cope. I hope this helps me and I hope it can help someone else too. I promise I’m going to kick cancers ass. So to my baby girl, my world - Mommy isn’t sick, Mommy is fighting because she has everything to fight for.