- Posted September 24, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The written word: Your personal essays
The brave pirate
- hhanks, CNN iReport producer
May 23, 2013 was the day my world, (make that my entire families world) came crashing down. I am a 37 year old mommy who learned she had Stage III breast cancer. May 28th, I learned from my team of oncologists at MD Anderson my exact cancer diagnosis and the next weeks were a blur of biopsies, appointments, plans and scans. It was overwhelming, but I decided I could lay in bed all day crying or I could face this head on like a real woman! I chose the latter and began putting on my armor and loading my artillery. I was going to battle and determined to show my 2 and 1/2 and 3 and 1/2 year old sons how brave mommy could be. Before treatments began, my cousin and I shaved our heads in total solidarity. From that day, it has not been necessary for my children to understand cancer. They understand hair and they already knew what pirates were.
>>>>> When the boys first saw my new 'do, they were floored. They squealed and laughed, "Mommy has no hair"! They watched intently as I learned to put on my very first head-scarf and my oldest proclaimed, "Wow, mommy is a pirate! Mommy, you are so cool". I already knew how I was going to explain my cancer to my family.
>>>>> My first chemo session was a breeze but soon, as predicted, what was left of my hair all fell out. My boys were now fascinated with all things hair. Daddy shaved his head along with a few other dear friends. While sitting with my boys, my oldest asked "Mommy, are you a little bit sick?"
>>>>> "Yes baby, I am. But guess what? Pirates are very brave and as mommy gets better, her hair will start to grow back in and when it all comes back then mommy won't be sick anymore." Big smiles all around.
>>>>> I continued life as usual. Taking the kids to school picking them up. Going to swim lessons, birthday parties, and the occasional amusement park with no side effects to really write home about. I had no idea that my head would become the target of daily inspections. Both kids would pull out their magnifying glasses and each would take turns inspecting the growth process of my hair. For the first few months they saw nothing. A few weeks ago my hair started to grow back and both boys were very excited. "Mommy!" they both screamed in total disbelief. "Your hair is coming back a little. You are almost all better mommy! hooray!!!"
>>>>> I am writing this from my 9th chemo session. Only seven more to go. I am not sick! Yes, I have a tumor but I feel great. In my mind, I have already beaten this thing. As my hair is coming back quickly now, I may not be wearing my scarves much longer. As I prepare to take off that piece of armor, hopefully my sons will be able to put away their worries for their bald momma forever. I guess for me as a mother I don't want my children to be afraid but I do want them to know that mommy is tough. I am not a writer. I have no desire to pursue writing. But I wanted to share my story and hopefully when my sons are a little bit older they can read this and remember mommy, THE BRAVE PIRATE!