Guest blog: My daughter was 15 when I got cancer
This guest blog is from Gloria whose daughter was fifteen when Gloria was diagnosed with breast cancer.
I was 54 years old when I found a lump in my right breast. It was late September and in October 2018 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a total shock and the icing on the cake, because it came at a time in my life that was already so difficult. I didn’t know how I was going to cope.
Nothing prepares you for those words, “You have cancer.” I just cried.
My daughter was 15 and at the stage where she was finding teenage life difficult. Our relationship was so strained I thought I was going mad. I just thought that life couldn’t get any worse. I was alone with a teenager and now a cancer diagnosis.
My family were not living close to me so I went to all my hospital appointments alone and felt I had to be strong around my daughter. She knew I was upset but I kept the crying for when I was on my own.
Taking to a teenager about such a difficult situation when they are going through big life changes themselves is so tough. The hug my daughter gave me when I told her that I had cancer was so beautiful – it had been a while.
She was getting ready for her GCSEs and was very stressed. As a mother, it was important that I told her what I was going through but in a way that could put her mind at ease. It wasn’t easy.
I went from being told that I would have a lumpectomy (which was not too invasive) to needing a mastectomy and losing my nipple. Then more surgery to give me a new nipple and to adjust my other breast to make both breasts look similar.
I was heartbroken.
But through it all, having my daughter to think about made me stronger. I had to think of her as well as myself. And this gave me the strength I needed to be strong.
Thank you Ines, you have been my rock at the most difficult time in my life.
I think it was helped by the fact that after a while, going through cancer for me was just like having a cold. And I think I did a good job at the most difficult time in my life.
Now two years on
Now 2 years on I have a new breast and hopefully my phase 2 will happen soon. My daughter is now at university and I feel lucky to be alive to tell my story. It’s not easy but my goodness, cancer and teenagers show you how strong you can be when you didn’t know you had it in you to be.