A letter to my mother

October 7, 2015

Happy Birthday Mum!

It’s been 19 years since you died from breast cancer.  I wish you had been around this year when I was diagnosed with breast cancer too.  There have many days I wish I could have called you, but instead I just looked up to the sky and talked.  I’m sure you would have reacted the same way as your son did, when his big sister told him she had been diagnosed with the same thing that killed his mother.

Somehow I always thought I’d get a similar call from pathology, so when that day came, I had a well digested plan. Thanks to you and your experiences, I made a plan 20 years ago. This year I executed the plan to have a double mastectomy. Surprisingly it wasn’t very difficult to look at the surgeon and say “I want a double mastectomy.” It also wasn’t very traumatic to go through the procedure; I was happy to say goodbye to the girls. You’d be amazed at how good I looked after surgery, and how well the field of reconstructive surgery has progressed. May be you would have chosen the same path as me.

I’m about halfway through the reconstruction process, but I’m over the hardest part. I’d love to be able to giggle with you about being under the care of a plastic surgeon. Of all the doctors you’ll need in a lifetime, a plastic surgeon was not one I had considered. You’d probably laugh if I told you I asked him if I could get a 2 for one (mastectomy and facelift), and how he didn’t think that was funny.

You’d be happy that a month after my mastectomy the oncologist discharged me because the surgery removed all detectable traces of cancer.  I’m sure you’d also appreciate the high-five he gave me when we discussed post-surgery pathology reports that showed I had pre-cancerous cells in the other breast. And I think you would have agreed with the oncologist when he said I’d made a very good decision to go forward with a double mastectomy; even though that was something you did not want in your cancer journey.

It’s early days for me, but my prognosis is good. I miss you Mum.




2 thoughts on “A letter to my mother”

  1. Wow Mandy. I had no idea of your diagnosis, and I’m so happy to hear of your prognosis. Cheers to you and your wonderful mom.

    By the way, why do you still look 30?!?!
    Xox 😉

  2. Mandy, our prayers for a successful recovery go out to you and every woman who faces the ultimate devil.
    It has taken my mother, an aunt, at least one uncle and several others that went who refused to see doctors about their ailments. Their symptoms were those of cancer. Some went quickly, others lingered.
    I thank God every day for the smart and talented women like yourself you continue to improve our world. I thank God for their perspectives and intent to live life to the fullest.
    Keep improving the world for everyone including yourself!

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