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Family Health Living Life Photography

Love Thursday: My Mom Stood Up 2 Cancer

This is my Mom. The photo on the left was taken during the summer of 2006. BigBrother wasn’t yet a year. She loved wearing him in my first Mei Tai. She loved the bonding time spent with her oldest grandson. She loved being a Yia Yia despite not being Greek. Life was easier then.

The photo on the right was taken during the summer of 2008. Mom could finally wear LittleBrother in the (or, yet another) Mei Tai. Prior to this point, she couldn’t lift him very well. Because she had surgery. For breast cancer. In between these two photos, taken just about two years apart, my Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. And our lives changed.

My Mom beat that cancer. She is currently cancer free. But we’ve all been changed. I cannot explain how it changed something as simple as watching my children bond with their Yia Yia. Unless your own mother (or parent) has fought cancer (or another life-threatening illness), maybe you don’t know how precious each little moment is that your parents spend with your child. Let me tell you: those moments are priceless. Make time for those moments. Even if your schedule is busy. Even if you’ve got to travel. Let them bond. Because we just don’t know the future.

I love watching my Mom wear the boys. And play with the boys. And snuggle the boys. And even tell the boys “no” when they’re being bad. I love the fact that she is still here to help them grow. I love the fact that my Mom stood up 2 cancer and won. In the process, we all learned how important the love we have for one another really is… and how that love can grow despite the challenges life throws.

I love my Mom. And I love that others are Standing Up 2 Cancer right now. Are you?

(Also? Tune into the blog today at 1:00pm (EDT) for a special babywearing review accompanied with a deal for you!)

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Breast Cancer Family Health

Stand Up 2 Cancer: My Family

SU2CMany of you remember how totally caught off guard we were last September. In fact, it was at the end of September. At this time last year, we were still floating around in our lives, unaware that cancer was forming in my Mother’s breast. The news was devastating; there’s no other way to put it. I can’t sugar coat it. I can’t make it sound pretty. It wasn’t even my breast and I was absolutely devastated.

It was my Mommy. It was that person who had always been strong, always been there and suddenly the tables were turned. It was my sudden thrust into the realities of being an adult child. Beyond being asked to bring food to a holiday meal, this was the startling and sobering reality: my parents were mortal. And it shook me to my core.

Mom underwent surgery and radiation. We did a lot of praying. We did a lot of crying. And now, I am so pleased to tell everyone again, she is cancer free. My Mom is once again healthy and she’s back to lifting both boys (which she couldn’t do after her surgery) and being the active, busy Mom that I have always known.

But it’s changed all of us.

And not just in the previously mentioned “crap-my-parents-are-mortal” way. Cancer is constantly on my mind anymore. Not constantly in a paranoid way. But enough that I’ve started reading more when its in the news and paying attention to new research. Why? It’s not as if we were a totally cancer free family prior to my Mom’s diagnosis. My great-grandfather and great-grandmother died of various cancers. Cancer also has taken lives in FireDad’s family. Maybe the change is because my Mother’s diagnosis directly affects me. She doesn’t carry the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene (which means that I don’t) but I have a number of other risk factors. Of course, my mind then jumps to my daughter. Now both of her biological grandmothers have fought (and beat) breast cancer. It scares me out of my mind to think of that or to think of my sons and their future children.

And that’s why the Fire Family is Standing Up 2 Cancer. Research is needed. I don’t want to rock my kids’ world someday with a diagnosis. I don’t want their worlds to be rocked. I don’t want my grandkids’ lives to be changed in this way. I want money for research. And I want answers. And cures. Yesterday.

I’ve emailed my congress men and women. Have you? I’m sharing our personal family story right now. Have you? I’ll be tuning in at 8:00pm this Friday to watch the telethon. Will you? And sometime this week, the FireFamily will be launching stars for all in our family who have been affected by cancer. Will you?

Please. Stand Up 2 Cancer. Do your part. Not for my family. But for your own.