Today, my mother turns 21.
Now, let me explain how a 21-year-old can give birth to someone in their mid-forties.
It was early fall 1994, and my mother was complaining of a sore spot in her breast. She did self-exams, and found a tender place that felt like a lump. She went to her doctor, who didn’t think much of it, but scheduled a lumpectomy for her on October 12.
Mom went in, they did the lumpectomy, the doctor looked at it, decided it was benign, and stitched Mom back up. As per protocol, they sent the lump to pathology and sent mom to post-op for recovery.
The doctor got a call later from pathology, suggesting that he might want to reschedule her to get a larger margin around the site.
The lump was malignant. My mother had breast cancer.
Mom was a trooper, getting the larger margin excised and a full round of radiation treatments to be sure. She lost a total of fifteen minutes of work throughout the entire experience.
In 2009, she had a quasi-re-occurrence. They found a pre-cancerous lump and repeated the lumpectomy and radiation procedure. I traveled from Chicago to Raleigh to be with her during this time, and was there for about seven weeks.
Today marks the occasion of her becoming a 21-year breast cancer survivor.
My mother and I get along, mostly, though we have our moments when we don’t see eye to eye, like when I’m trying to do tech support for her long distance. I still love her to pieces and wish there were a way to spend more time with her as she moves into her 80s. She doesn’t have a ton of years left and I don’t see the opportunity arising to get her moved out here with us anytime soon.
But I’m thankful she’s on the other end of the line when I call still, and going strong.
Here’s to 21 more years, Mom. You deserve them. I love you.