Breast Cancer: A Young Mother's Story of Survival

Monday, October 24, 2011
I met Wendy  from Wendy Will Blog the way I meet so many people these days, online. We started chatting on Twitter, visited each other's blogs, and the rest is history. Earlier this month, I put a call out to my online contacts asking if anyone would be interested in guest posting on their experience with breast cancer. I didn't want to directly reach out to Wendy as I didn't want to put her in a compromising situation. So, I was elated when she read my breast cancer story and completed the contact form to share her story.

Wendy Will Blog

Wendy is a 36 year-old mother of a 3 and half year old little girl. Just months after having her daughter, Wendy was diagnosed with breast cancer. Today, she is, thankfully, considered cancer-free and is doing everything she can to keep it that way. Wendy has been a life-long resident of southern California (I am SO jealous) where she lives with her husband, daughter and their purebred Vizsla.

How beautiful are Wendy and her family?
Photo credit: Wendy Will Blog

When Wendy had kindly agreed to share her story with my readers, I asked her how her diagnosis affected her as a new mother. What consumed her mind? What were her biggest fears? Here Wendy shares her story with us.


How has my breast cancer diagnosis changed me as a mother?

The paper crinkled beneath me as both the nurse and doctor examined the images of the tumor on the computer monitor. My pale husband hovered in the background. The doctor glided the ultrasound wand over my left breast and armpit searching for the best spot to insert the aspiration needle so to grab tumor cells for a biopsy.

Tears were falling down the sides of my face and dripping onto the paper. The nurse, clearly trying to distract me, asked, “How old is your little girl?” The inside of my nose burned and the lump in my throat barely let me get out “almost nine months.” She continued, “What’s her name?” Floodgates. I plead “Please, I’d rather not talk about her right now.”

The two questions that consumed me the day of my diagnosis were 1) what did I do to deserve this and 2) who will be a mother to my daughter?

My breast cancer diagnosis blindsided me and it has forever changed me as a person and as a mother.

Breast cancer has completely altered what I thought my life would be like today. It has only allowed me one biological child stealing my ovaries and leaving me menopausal. It has left me scarred and tattooed, achy and with bone loss. It has ruined every photo for a good year when I had to wear a headscarf or a hat. It has left me depressed and discouraged.

But worst of all, it has left me terrified.

The thought of breast cancer metastasis scares the crap out of me. The one silver lining was that my daughter was too young to remember the devastating toll the treatment took on me. But, I worry. She may not be old enough now to fully understand what’s happening if it were to come back but she’d definitely know something was wrong. I can’t bear to see that fear in my child’s face.

It scares me because I don’t know what caused my cancer. Was it something I did, was exposed to, ate, inhaled, stood next to, contracted, or born with? I don’t carry the BRCA gene mutation but that doesn’t mean I don’t have some unknown and undiscovered mutation that she may potentially have too. Without knowing what caused mine worries me that I can’t protect her from it.

It scares me that she will one day think she was the cause of my cancer. I don’t ever want her thinking that the abundant hormones while pregnant with her may have encouraged the cancer growth.

It scares me that she will worry about her own health for the rest of her life. too At this point, she’ll have to start mammography tests at age 23 – a whole ten years before I was diagnosed. Twenty-three year olds should be worried about having fun. Not mammograms.

The physical damage cancer has caused me is nothing compared to the ever-present fear it instills as a mother.

I went back into the doctor’s office the day following my diagnosis. That same nurse who tried comforting me the day before asked how I was doing. I smiled. Obviously, I wasn’t great but I was ready for a fight and I replied, “No more tears today, I promise.”

I refuse to let cancer win and I refuse to let it get the best of my family or me.


Wendy is the embodiment of courage and inspiration. Wendy's story certainly puts things into perspective for me. Whatever issues I think I have are NOTHING. NOTHING. However big my problems may seem, they really are petty and minimal compared to what Wendy and so many other breast cancer survivors have endured. At the end of the day, I have my family, my friends, and my breast health. And I am grateful that Wendy shares those treasures as well.

Please hop over to Wendy Will Blog and show her some love.

I would also love if you would follow her on Twitter and like her page on Facebook.

And lastly, many, many heartfelt thanks to Wendy for opening up and sharing her courageous story of breast cancer survival with me and the Pieces of a Mom readers. I promise you, Wendy, next time I am in SoCal, we will meet and share a coffee at Starbucks...Wendy shares my love of Starbucks!!!

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