My mom has breast cancer: a daughter’s perspective

Rebecca chatted to our cover girl, Soso’s 16 year old daughter to find out more about her fears and concerns when you find out that your mom has breast cancer.

My name is Norica Thamae and I am 16 years old.  In my mind, cancer was a death sentence and it either killed you or I believed that you spent the rest of your life in a hospital bed. My mum got breast cancer, but did neither of these.

My mom and dad sat my two brothers and I down in the lounge on the afternoon of the1st of August 2012. Usually this doesn’t happen unless we have done something really naughty or something bad has happened. Mom told us that the suspicious lump in her breast has been diagnosed as breast cancer.

My heart jumped into my throat and I experienced the worst feeling ever. I was scared, worried and upset.  I cried, my brothers cried.  It was chaos!  I couldn’t hold back the tears as I thought of the different outcomes of cancer – death or permanently living in hospital.

After a while we calmed down a bit and she asked us for our undivided attention.   I felt numb as the news sunk in and I tried to hold back the tears and look brave.  She explained her treatment plan and assured us that, though she is in for a long haul, with a formidable team of doctors behind her, the journey will be easy.

Breast cancer is a tough topic to talk about. Not everyone talks openly and honestly about their journey or how they are feeling.  Even if you are used to talking openly about other stuff, cancer may be a whole different story. There are so many things that can get in the way like your fears and everyone else’s feelings.  Telling my close friends about my mom’s condition was hard. However, I took a deep breath and told them.  I’m happy I spoke to my friends as this turned out to be a wake up call.  One of my friends reminded me that in July 2012 two ladies from the Breast Health Foundation gave a talk at our school, Waterstone College, about breast health. Eish! How could I have forgotten? This was like a breath of fresh air.  We then did some revision on the talk and I was filled with hope. I also empowered myself by accessing the

breast cancer websites to learn more about the disease.

Mom started with chemo and her hair fell out in patches and she decided to cut all her hair off.  Dad decided to join the club.  My two brothers and I think it is very cool that both our parents flaunt the same hairstyle!

Cancer brings up lots of emotions and some of them are overwhelming and difficult. Understanding your parent’s feelings when they have cancer is a huge challenge. Let your parent know that you want to know what is going on – the good, the bad and the ugly. Now and then I have one-on-one sessions with mom.  Everyone deals with stuff in different ways.  Just being with her and giving her a hug or holding hands is enough, she knows how I feel.

You can also write a letter, send an sms, find cards or songs that help you to communicate your feelings. It may be easier to talk to someone outside your family circle. Think about people who you trust and feel comfortable with.  Most young people find that even though it is really hard to see your mom when she is weak and sick, you will value all the time you have spent with her later.

I love mom for being so brave. She is and always will be my role model.