“I Have Cancer”

Saturday, February 7th, 2015

I woke up to a loud banging on the back hallway door. I quickly sat up, slightly confused and still completely intoxicated, on my couch. It was 9:30 am on a Saturday. Whoever this person was should have known that it was quite early for a bartender… who likes to party during and after her shift….

I walked to the door and opened it up. My mom was standing there, looking her usual fabulous self, with her hair up in her classic messy pony tail and her stunner shades on. But through those big, bad ass sunglasses, I could see despair in her eyes; I could feel a heaviness in her energy; I could hear the panic in her breathing.

“I HAVE CANCER!” she exclaimed.

Talk about a “sobering moment”.

I took a step back into my apartment and waved for her to come in. I was In shock, absolute shock, and all I could say in that moment, was, “Do you want a seltzer?”

Dafuq? “DO YOU WANT A SELTZER?” What? Huh? Why? I mean… Seriously. Do you want a seltzer… Come on, Amanda… #FacePalm

She declined my offering of the crisp, refreshing beverage and sat on the edge of my ottoman. I sat on the floor next to her and asked what she knew and what we were going to do.

She told me how, since Thanksgiving, she noticed the lump had gotten worse. There was a depression in her skin where she had initially found it and that the “last straw” for her to call the doctor was when her nipple became “inverted”. So she called, they rushed her in, and there we sat that day, with the news that she had breast cancer.

She told me that when she received the news, all but 30 minutes prior to her arrival at my place, she asked the man on the phone, “Am I going to die?”

To which he responded, “I don’t know. I can’t make any promises.”

Dafuq2? Now, I get that you can’t lawfully or ethically promise anything, but come on, man; a little compassion and some bedside manner could really do wonders right now.

As I stood up so my mom could make phone calls, informing other loved ones of her diagnosis, I walked into my dining room, shaking. Still in shock, I stood there, gazing out onto the parkway, trying to piece my thoughts together and “be strong” for her. I couldn’t cry. I couldn’t do much of anything but stare out the window.

As she hung up with her last call for the day, I walked over to her and said, “Saz’s Bloody Mary served by that rather handsome bartender you like so much?”

She nodded in agreement and we went on our merry way.

I couldn’t tell you if we talked on our drive there or on our drive back. I do know we talked a lot over two, three, maybe four bloodies. We talked about second opinions, options, outcomes, therapy, treatment, living life to the fullest, and slaying the dragons. I held her hand and told her I would always support her. I told “we got this” and that at the end of it we’d all walk away “stronger, healthier, and better because of it.”

I truly believed all of that. For the 3.5 years she fought, I believed.

Shit, breast cancer is one of the “most ‘curable’ cancers” out there, with a plethora of survivors, all with inspiring stories of vigor and victory. How could we not be one of them? We had an army beside us and we were going to beat this. There was no other option.

Until there was….


The fact that my mom ever had to ask that question breaks my heart.

But you know what breaks my heart even more? Knowing that telling her children, “I have cancer,” had broken hers beyond repair.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Christine Michalowski says:

    I love you. Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for bringing me on the epic journey with you. We lost too many warriors along the way. My heart is broken too. That being said, I am a better and stronger woman for knowing Jen, Elena, and mama. I am still here for you. Pinky promise. I Love you beyond measure. ❤


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