Angela's story: My mom has cancer
It was late Friday night, the last hour of my drive from the city to mom’s apartment in Utica, NY – my hometown. My stomach growled for Mom’s snacks I knew she’d have prepared. My eyes felt heavy, but the excitement of my annual hike in the Adirondacks kept me awake.
I arrived as I did every weekend. But something felt different.
Mom sat on the couch waiting for me. The TV lit the room. Mom smiled. I set down my bags and sat on the chair next to her.
Mom got up and sat closer to me.
“What’s wrong?” I said it immediately without thought.
“You remember how I went to the doctor the other day," she said slowly.
I nodded. My eyes wide.
"I have breast cancer.”
My young, healthy, vibrant, beautiful mother uttered the ugliest words I’ve ever heard.
My mind raced. My body tensed. My ears pounded.
The call from the doctor was brief, she said.
A blur, she added.
He said cancer. After that, she heard nothing else.
My mind raced quicker. My body tensed tighter. My ears pounded louder.
“Do you know how serious your case is?”
I braced myself for the answer.
She recalled the words aggressive and Stage II.
Or was it three?
She couldn’t be sure.
My body shook uncontrollably. My mother hugged me tightly.
“I’m going to be OK.”
She struggled to speak.
“WE are going to be OK. I am going to be OK. WE are going to be OK.”
When mom finally went to bed, I stood in the bathroom and stared in the mirror.
I clutched my iPhone.
1 a.m., the screen taunted. I couldn’t think of sleep.
I needed answers.
With my stomach in knots, and hands shaking, I Googled like hell.
Can you survive breast cancer? How deadly is breast cancer? What are the stages? Will my mother lose her hair?
I didn’t stop there.
I clicked on every link I could find. I desperately searched for information to prepare me for the frightening road ahead.
What am I going to feel? What is she going to feel? What do we need to be ready for emotionally, physically, financially?
I needed to know.
I took bits and pieces of information from various blogs and cancer websites not really knowing what was fact and what was fiction.
I quickly learned time and experience would be my best teachers.
And the nine-month journey to come would change my mother and I forever.
And so my mission began.
A mission to give Daughters Like Us one single place to find information on every step of the process.
A place that helps you visualize the road ahead.
A place to find comfort when you feel like no one understands.
A place to connect with others just like you.
My hope is Daughters Like Us will discover the special place, so no one will be left Googling in the middle of the night searching for answers.
Your place is here.