My Mom's Words of Advice + Reflection
I asked my mom how breast cancer affected her life and she said, “I found a positive outlook for life coming out of my illness, believe it or not. My kids and I became so much closer after my illness and I really valued my family a lot more after. Worldly things are only temporary and I started to see beyond that. The friendship and kindness that was shown to me during my illness really touched me and encouraged me, especially on days when I felt lonely and down.”
Her words of wisdom to anyone going through their own healing journey: “Be strong and one day, all of this pain will be a part of your journey and your story. It will be something that you can look back on and use to inspire and others who are going through a similar experience. Do reach out to others. In the end, reaching out and helping other people will touch your life too.”
Experiencing Breast Cancer from the Sidelines
My mom is an active person and really busy with all the hats she wears. She’s a wife, a mom, a software engineer, serves at her church, as well as a caretaker for friends and extended family. Being out of commission for so many months and enduring the most physically and mentally draining times of her life was extremely hard. It was also difficult for my dad, brother and I to see her in pain. It is so tough to know what to say or what to do when your loved one is battling something so foreign.
Talking about experiencing cancer from the sidelines feels odd because you’re not the one who is sick, however, it’s a very unique position to be in. Not everyone will understand that role but those who have been there know what I mean by how foreign it is. Breast cancer patients need their breast friends – those who are supporting their warriors need some help and support too. My heart truly goes out to anyone who is going through a sickness or trauma with a loved one. I’m hardly qualified to give advice but something I’d encourage is to be strong and take care of yourself in the midst of everything because it can help your loved one fight harder. When we neglect ourselves, while we care for our loved ones, it can actually make them feel burdened and in more pain. I am always happy to chat if you are reading this and need someone to listen.
Like my mom mentioned above, sometimes when tragic things happen to us, it helps us become a light to others. Instead of letting her sickness define her and bring her down, she chose to turn her lemons into lemonade and help others once she got better. My mom has now helped two of her friends navigate their own illness. I have seen how much my mom cares for others and goes out of her way to visit people, cook food, give advice and support, and love on others. Her empathy is inspiring.