Monday, February 11, 2008

Think Pink Day

I am thinking PINK. Today is Think Pink Day. The University of Tennessee Basketball Lady Volunteers - known to all as The NCAA Champion Lady Vols - are raising awareness for breast cancer. I am a supporter. Of the Lady Vols and of breast cancer awareness.

I am not a joiner of causes. I am passionate about certain things but I don't usually join "the cause".

But my Mom's battle with breast cancer made me a supporter. Not for the reasons you would think.

Mom had a very small lump, detected early. In fact, the lump was so small that the biopsy almost "got it all". She had a lumpectomy and all looked good. The doctor recommended follow-up radiation treatment but chemo was not necessary.

Then Mom made a decision.

My mother was very spiritual and very knowledgeable about alternative medicine. She was highly intelligent, educated, and she researched thoroughly whatever she considered.

Mom decided she would not have radiation.

She said that she had researched it and that often, the radiation does damage to other organs and causes more problems than it helps. She was going to treat this holistically.

There was no changing my mother's mind once she made a decision.

Over 5 years, Mom tried many things. I won't go into my hatred for some of the charlatans that took her money. But she believed. She believed that the pain she was experiencing was not cancer. It must be something else.

And there were many times that the traditional medical tests showed no sign of cancer. They couldn't explain her pain.

"It has to be related to the cancer though" they told her.

In late August of 2005, she was at the Mayo clinic for 2 weeks. They did a minor surgery unrelated to the cancer. They did find that the cancer was recurring and recommended that she return to Vanderbilt Medical Center for some minor chemo. One pill every couple of weeks, she wouldn't even be sick or lose her hair. She gave in and agreed. She just didn't want to be in pain anymore.

Mom returned home. Within a few weeks, she went to Vanderbilt for tests to get a baseline so they could measure her progress. They said the cancer had spread. They admitted her. She died 48 hours later.

Would radiation have prevented her death? How will we ever know? Am I angry with Mom? No. She lived her life on her terms and we ALL supported her, all of us knowing the risks. But I am sad. Would I do it the same way? No.

So I am a supporter of awareness. And knowledge. And choices. Even bad ones.


calimountainmama said...

I'm secretly angry at her. I say "secretly", because I don't like admitting it to myself, and never have to anyone else until now. Like somehow it makes her less of the icon of perfection that she is in my mind. It really doesn't, but I'm afraid it would if I let myself really feel the anger. So I don't. But secretly, I do.

Wanda said...

I lost my mother to cancer in 1991. I do all the preventative things yearly since I was 40 and I'm 66.
We each choose how we will live our lives, don't we.

You do have a gift of words, and I love how you share your stories.

Tere said...

Thanks Wanda. Keep doing those preventative things.

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