Thank you Pfizer for sponsoring this post. Join Pfizer’s #InspirationLives initiative by sharing your story with the hashtag on Facebook and Instagram to support and inspire those who have been affected by cancer, and be sure to check out the LivingWith™ mobile app available via iTunes and Google Play!
Around Christmas of 2006, my 46-year-old mother found a small, hard lump in her breast. She didn’t mention anything during the holidays, but looking back, she must have been incredibly nervous. Many doctors’ appointments followed, and in the summer of 2007, I received a phone call from my mother. She told me she was heading back from an appointment at Sloan Kettering Institute for Cancer Research in New York City. I was confused: why would she need to go to a cancer institute? The news that followed changed both her and my life forever . . .
She had stage 3 breast cancer.
After more appointments and scans, we found that the cancer had metastasized to her lymph nodes and had spread down to her chest muscle. The only option she had was to cut the cancer out of her body and receive radiation and chemotherapy. She also would have to put her body into early menopause as her cancer was estrogen positive.
During much of her treatment, I was away at college so I didn’t get to experience everything she went through. However, when I would return home, I noted the change in my mother’s appearance. Her hair, eyelashes and eyebrows were now gone. She was constantly in pain, nauseated from the chemotherapy and couldn’t do much other than sleep.
My heart ached at seeing the pain and suffering she was going through. Growing up, my mother always told me that life was short. However, as a child you think your parents are indestructible. . . . The day I discovered my mother was not was a difficult one, indeed.
As a daughter, I remember wishing I could help my mother more. I would have been so grateful for any kind of guidance as it would have helped us greatly. LivingWith™, a free mobile app designed to help manage life with cancer and organize important information in one place, could potentially help so many. It also enables patients and their loved ones to record certain important information, track mood and pain and learn about local events and nutrition.
LivingWith was created by Pfizer as part of This is Living with Cancer™, a national awareness program designed to help manage some of the daily challenges faced by people living with cancer. Learning you are not alone is so important. My mother was proud to be a survivor and often went up to others battling the disease and gave them a hug and reassurance that they too would be “okay.”
So, whether you have a connection to cancer through a loved one or you, yourself, are battling or have battled cancer, please know you are not alone.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.