Living & Coping
Day 220: I did it! I fought breast cancer, and I won. I dedicate this last journal entry to my amazing son, my family and friends, the people of LMH, and you.
Most 12-year-old boys don’t want their moms to write about them online. I get that, so I haven’t spoken much about Gannon, my amazing son…until now. Gannon, sweetheart, you’ll just have to forgive me for this one because I don’t think I can close this chapter of our lives without telling the world how important you’ve been to my recovery. And I’m not just saying that because you’re my son. I’m saying it because you’re my inspiration.
You were the first person I thought of when I found out I had breast cancer. I may have had a million reasons to fight this horrible disease, but I only needed one: you. Whenever I began to feel consumed by weakness, thoughts of you and your bright future filled me up with all the determination I needed to stay strong. We’ve made some great memories together over the years, kiddo, but we are FAR from finished. Many more good times are in store for us.
You’ve been tested, my good man, and you passed with flying colors. I know you were scared, but you never let the fear take over…for me, you stayed strong and you carried on. In so many ways, you showed me that you are already the man I’ve been raising you to be. Courageous. Caring. Strong. Smart. Self-sufficient. And of course handsome…let’s not forget handsome. ;-)
Do you remember what you said to me a few days after my diagnosis, after we’d had a few chats about the benefits of catching it early? Personally, I’ll never forget it. I’d been a little worried about whether or not you believed me when I said I’d be able to fight this, but you put my mind at ease:
“You know what’s cool, Mom?” you said to me, pretty much out of the blue as we drove home that day.
“What’s that, Gannon?” I responded.
“You’re going to be a cancer survivor.”
I beamed. I absolutely beamed, inside and out. Why? Because I was so proud of you for finding the good amid the grim. At that moment, I knew you had processed through your fears, and you were ready, willing and able to support me in the fight of my life. Seeing all that bravery and compassion inside you is beyond beautiful to me...I love you so much, Gannon.
Now I want to quickly switch gears and give one last shout-out to the outstanding people of LMH. The fact that LMH is right here in Lawrence and offers experts across all the disciplines I needed for comprehensive cancer care – diagnostic imaging, oncology, breast surgery and more – is truly a blessing. From my diagnosis and treatment to the education and support they provided, I never had any reason to second-guess my care at LMH. Everyone has been outstanding at every step of the way, and I’m so fortunate to have caring providers not only in my community, but also in my life. To my providers and friends at LMH, thank you for helping me.
And last but not least, I have a few final words for those of you following along. It’s time for me to close this chapter of my life, and with it, this journal. My treatments and procedures are behind me, and just as Gannon predicted, I have moved on from cancer patient to cancer survivor. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for caring enough to listen. Some of you don’t even know me, but you listened anyway…maybe because you’ve been through a similar illness, or because I remind you of someone you know, or simply because we’re all on this crazy ride called life together and you chose to embrace that connection. Whatever your reason is for following, knowing you’re here listening has been a big part of the healing process for me. To each and every one of you, thank you, thank you, thank you! And, as my dad would say, live well!