Nothing brings me more joy than being a mother to my 2 amazing little boys. Jaylen (9) and Ezra (2) are my world. So it’s no surprise that one of the hardest things I’ve done to date was look my 9-year-old son in those big brown eyes and say, ” Jaylen, I have breast cancer.”
A few doctors’ appointments into the entire process, Jaylen began to ask questions about what was going on. For a while I just told him I just wasn’t feeling well and the doctor was giving me medicine to help me feel better.
I knew eventually I was going to have to sit him down and let him know what was really going on. I wasn’t sure how I was going to tell him, but he needed to know.
I rehearsed what I was going to say over and over before I finally decided that the best way to tell him was…well to just tell him.
I called him in his room and told him we needed to talk.
Me: “Jaylen do you remember when your grandma was sick?
Jaylen: ” You mean with breast cancer?”
The words “breast cancer” coming out of his mouth felt like two blows to my stomach.
Me: “Yes, and you know she’s all better now right?”
Me: “Well I… (for a second I thought about finding a way to get out of the conversation and trying again in a few days) …I found out that I have breast cancer.”
The look on my son’s face broke my heart. He looked confused. He looked afraid. He looked angry. I felt like I had made a terrible mistake.
His big brown eyes swelled with tears and he looked down at the floor.
Jaylen: ” Mom…no! I don’t want you to have cancer!” He shook his head and grabbed me.
I pulled him in close and hugged him, fighting back tears. I wanted to cry with him, but in this moment I needed him to see that I was fine.
I kissed him on his forehead and told him that everything was going to be okay.
He looked up at me and wiped his eyes and said “I love you mom.”
We sat and talked for a few minutes about how God had healed his grandma and we believed that God was going to take all the cancer away from me.
Jaylen smiled and said “mom, I already know you’re going to be okay” and gave me a high five before returning back to his video game.
I knew it was even more important that I stayed positive during this entire process. I hadn’t made a terrible mistake in telling him. This was my opportunity to really lead by example; to teach my sons what faith looked like.
I've always believed that we tend to be the most effective in areas where we have been the most affected. It's often our deepest pains that draw us closer to our purpose. Those words never really hit home until I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer at the age of 28. I had watched both my mother and grandmother battle the disease, but never thought I would find myself in the same battle, especially not so young. I've learned through this journey that it's not what you go through, but how you go through it. I wanted to share my story in hopes that it will inspire someone to keep fighting, keep the faith and live on purpose.