Not My Mother's Journey

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 43, all of the memories of my mom’s experience twenty years before flooded into my brain. Intellectually I knew my cancer was different: I was stage 1, she had been at stage 3. I had awareness of breast cancer, having watched her go through it, but she was the first in her family to be diagnosed. She was 44.

She died fifteen months later from metastasized breast cancer.

Even though I was given a good prognosis and had tested BRAICA negative, I was anxious to get past my one year mark, as this is when my mom’s cancer had metastasized. I breathed a sigh of relief when my diagnostic mammogram came back clean. They would call me in a few days with the results of my MRI. I was driving home when the doctor called telling me to come in for a biopsy. I had a recurrence at my one year mark, not a metastasis. After another year of surgeries and treatments, I’ve been in remission for four years. This was not my mother’s journey, and for that I’m grateful.
I mourn my mom’s early passing just as much as I’m appreciative that I’ve been given a second chance.

We’re a large sisterhood, partly because we’re surviving longer. I couldn’t have made it through those years of diagnosis and treatments without faith and community. I truly believe that sharing our stories makes us stronger, makes the difficult times easier, makes the happy times a celebration!

Thanks for the opportunity to share story here.

Heather St.Aubin-Stout
Salisbury, NC

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