Her mother's breast cancer, and her own
I came across this thoughtful and moving story today and I thought I'd share it with you. In this deeply personal essay, author Kate Bolick talks about her experience with her mother's breast cancer as well as her own. Both of them were diagnosed quite young. The essay really highlights how much care has changed over the years and the role women have played in improving that care. I imagine that there are a lot of women like Kate's mum - loving, strong, and dedicated - and I know many of them are right here.
For most of my life, I had only one memory of my mother’s first mastectomy: On the day she returned home from the hospital, she took my little brother and me into the bathroom and lifted up her shirt. She was forty, he was six, I was ten, and the three of us looked at her reflection in the mirror rather than directly at her chest. The thick red scar where her right breast had been was a violent surprise, like a gash in an oil portrait of a mother and her children. She explained surgery, and cancer, and remission, and we asked questions. Then we all went out for pizza.
And so her illness became an everyday fact of our lives—though “illness” seems too loaded a word for a woman as healthy and vital as she was, all fresh green vegetables and swimming laps at the Y.W.C.A. three days a week. She never once made me worry, or feel afraid. My own breasts were just starting to develop, however, and, as puberty molded me into her same shape, I decided it just wasn’t possible to look and be so much like her and not also harbor the same disease. Cancer is like a secret that insists on being known.
Click here to read the whole story.