It happened once

By Andrea Garduno


A squeeze to the chest. A subtle nudge to the heart that will put your whole body on alert. Tears welling up in your eyes but they fail to fall because the half feeling of shock is deciding whether to explode or implode within your rattling head. There is no correct feeling to feel once you find out your mother has cancer. I fail to perceive this reaction as anything normal or expected. I refuse to accept it. My mother isn’t sick. They made a mistake, they must have read the scan wrong.  

“They found something.” 

Something along those words was what my mother said to me. Days after she had gotten her yearly mammogram done. At the age of 40, women are asked to get yearly mammograms done to check for breast cancer.  They found something. What did they find? Breast Milk? That seemed like a good one in my head. My brother was only a year and a half. My head couldn’t wrap around it. This stuff only happens in the movies. This wasn’t supposed to happen. This isn’t happening. 

According to the National Library of Medicine, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer with women worldwide. 

“You are going to be okay.”

The words leave my mouth. That’s it. They left my mouth, there is nothing else to say. My mother is the strongest woman I know. Of course she is going to be okay. Why would I think otherwise? Don’t you dare think otherwise. 

The chance that a woman will die from breast cancer is about 1 in 39 (about 2.6%).

Tears left my mothers face. I can’t help but let mine go. No. I can not, should not let my tears go. What tears? That is not an option. 


“She’s sick.” 

I know my mother is sick, it comes with age. There is medicine for that. There is a cure. My mother is going to be fine.

“It came back.”

What did? Her menopause? God only knows how difficult that is. But it’s okay, we can deal with. There is a cure. 

Between 8 and 10% of women diagnosed with breast cancer will present locoregional recurrences. 

“It spread.” 

Well of course it did, menopause affects everything throughput the whole body. It’s okay, whatever medicines we have to pay. There is a cure. 

“Mom has cancer.” 

No she doesn’t. I do. We went through this, they got all of it. They took everything out. They cured her. 

I have to go see her. We will fix this. I will fix this. There is medicine. There are surgeries. There is a cure.

Breast cancer is so overall common throughout the world, that the experiences of those who experience and see it happen are often overlooked. Many daughters of daughters tend to hide their concerns and mask their fear with a nonchalant attitude of trying to fix things. It is okay to be afraid, and it is okay to learn about a topic very much relevant to what you or your loved one may be experiencing at the moment. The overwhelming fact of the disease itself is more of a reason to bond and communicate with one another.