Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I walk for my mom, Connie Houston!

A while back, I had the opportunity to write the story of my connection to breast cancer. I shared that story with hundreds of potential and registered 3-Day for the Cure walkers in my Get Started meetings. Here is what I shared:

My entire life, everyone has told me how much I look like my mom - and it's true. Whether you see us in person - or especially when you compare photos of us where we are the same age - there is no denying it. I'm her spitting image.

Like many women, as I get older, I often find myself saying, "Wow! I am turning into my mother!" I sound like her. I make the same facial expressions and gestures.

Our lives really mirror one another's in so many ways. And for the most part, I find that to be really sweet and endearing. But honestly, sometimes it really frightens me to be so much like my mom. That's because 12 years ago my mom was diagnosed with Stage IIIB breast cancer.

At the time, I was away at school. I can still vividly remember the call when she broke the news to me. She was very matter-of-fact when she informed me of the diagnosis and that she was having a lumpectomy the next day. Then, in true "mom-fashion" she cheerfully added, "But honey, don't worry. Everything is going to be fine. You don't even need to come home."

Well, this is my mom, so of course, the next afternoon I drove home. I spent the time in the car just over-thinking every possible outcome. There were tears, prayers - basically a lot of fear and uncertainty.

When I arrived that evening after her surgery, I stood outside of the hospital room and remembered her telling me that it would all be fine. So I tried convincing myself that it wouldn't be that bad. I took a deep breath before entering the room. But as I walked in, it quickly became clear that things really weren't "fine." I smiled at her but I couldn't help but notice how pale and tired she looked. There were tubes, IVs, drains... and my mom there in the middle of all of that.

She tried to act like it was all no big deal. She talked with determination and confidence about facing the upcoming months. She was going to face an aggressive course of chemotherapy and radiation treatments. There were a myriad of side effects and possible complications.

But I knew her so well. Remember, we are so much alike. So despite her best efforts to seem tough, I could still sense her fear. And as I stood at her bedside, I was scared too.

I felt so.... incredibly.... helpless.

And in that moment, I realized that my future could hold the same diagnosis. With everything else we had in common - that could be me.

I am proud to tell you that my mom is now a twelve year survivor. And that a cancer diagnosis is not one of the many things we share.

I am here to help eradicate breast cancer. To help raise the dollars that will find the cure. And through my involvement in the 3-Day for the Cure, I have been empowered to make a difference. I am no longer that scared girl at my mom's bedside. Through my participation as a walker, crew member and as a member of the 3-Day for the Cure staff, I know that my contributions are making an impact on this disease.

I walk for my mom, Connie Houston!

1 comment:

prima donna said...

I didn't know it at the time, but the day your mom found out, she called me to check on me because I had had a hysterectomy that day. I wish I had known then, but true to Connie form, she acted as if nothing were wrong, only interested in my well being. There is no one I am more proud to be a family member with than Connie. Jenny, you as well! You are both hero's! I felt so happy to be able to join with you one year for the twin city walk. I wish I could do it every year. Life has taken on new meaning for us after her fight. She will always be a shining star!! I love you both!