As said by many survivors, “Breast cancer does not define you, it’s something that happens to you and you overcome it.”
Breast cancer has taken and affected the lives of many. It affects women all across the world year round. Unfortunately, my mom, Zabrina McPherson, was one of the diagnosed. It changed my life in ways I couldn’t imagine, but it also changed me for the better.
This form of cancer starts out by cells growing out of control in the breast. If not spotted and treated, the cells can form a tumor in the tissue. That tumor can become malignant if the cells can invade into surrounding tissues or spread to distant areas of the body.
“I felt very devastated. It felt so unreal. I felt like I was in a dream,” my mom Zabrina McPherson recalled about learning of her cancer.
“When they first tell you that you have cancer, they don’t use the actual word cancer. To me, they said that I had several calcifications in my right breast,” mom said.
“The first thing I did with the news was cry. Then I was in deep thought about how I was going to actually tell my family,” mom shared.
When I learned my mom had breast cancer I was in the second grade. We were eating dinner and when she told my family, I immediately started crying. I didn’t know much about cancer at the time, but I knew that it could kill you. It was hard coming home from school and seeing my mom confined to bed rest, not being able to get up because she was in so much pain.
“The worst part of the treatment was having to shave my hair off of my head. I loved my hair and when I had it shaved, I cried a lot. Another part was my third chemo treatment, which put my body in so much pain I thought I was going to die that day.”
“When I told the rest of my family, it was very hard on all of us. When I told my brother and sister, they didn’t even believe me. They never thought that would happen to one of us,” mom said.
“The 22 rounds of chemotherapy were terrible. It made my body very weak and I lost a lot of blood. Once, I got so sick to the point where I had to go to the hospital and they quarantined me from anybody other than the doctors and nurses, and they had to wear special equipment to treat me.”
That week, the only way I could see my mother was through her hospital room window. It was a very hard week for me, but I still got through it, and supported my mom through every tear, breakdown, and treatment.
My mom, family, and I took away two very important life lessons from this experience: to always listen to your body, and if you think something is wrong, trust your instincts, because that just might save your life.