Three years ago today my mom underwent a double mastectomy to cinch the victory in her battle against breast cancer. It was both the end and the beginning of a long road that included a brutal recovery from such intense surgery, weekly chemotherapy treatments that stole her energy and radiation that left her skin tight, sore and zapped of elasticity. But my mom is strong. She is a fighter. And she refused to give up.
Growing up I knew that my mom was strong; she was everything I ever wanted to be. Intelligent, loving, talented, hilarious, brave and beautiful inside and out. But it’s one thing to know these things and another thing entirely to see her live out her strength and courage when she had every right to be weak. Even on the days when she hurt, the days when she felt exhausted, she fought on with a steadfast “tomorrow will be better” attitude. When the cancer made her tired, she napped on the couch surrounded by her family. When the cancer took her hair, she rocked floral head wraps and rhinestone caps like nobody’s business. The cancer never, ever claimed her spirit. She fought like hell, and she won.
If you had asked me whether I was proud of my mother prior to her battle with cancer, I would have said yes, absolutely. She was a hard working professional, with two advance degrees, seemingly endless devotion to her family and a love for the Lord. If you were to ask me today if I am proud of my mother I would say yes, absolutely. But now for entirely different – no, additional – reasons. Her vivacious and courageous spirit, her tireless mental and physical toughness in a longstanding fight and her unwavering strength in the eye of challenge. She is a fighter, a victor and a survivor. My mom is everything I want to be.
I love you, Mom. Happy three-year anniversary. I couldn’t be more proud.