When my mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, I was eighteen and didn’t know the extent of her diagnosis. I remember coming home one night and she was drinking her glass of wine, watching Nightline (this was her nightly ritual after my father and siblings went to bed). That evening, she invited me to sit down next to her. We had the talk that no parent should ever have with their child.
My mom shared that she didn’t know if and how long she was going to live, but she was prepared to fight with everything she had. Hours passed with both of us sobbing. But, in perfect “Lynn Style”, she told me to stop whining and I had better not make a big deal out of this or I would scare the s%#t out of my father and four younger siblings. To this day, I still shed a tear but manage to smile out of pure respect for my mother, when I remember that night.
Now, back to my story. My husband and I had a huge decision to make. Of course I downplayed the mass on my right ovary. Why, you ask? Because I didn’t want to scare the s#%t out of my husband and son! In reality, I was scared out of my mind.
My doctor had informed me that he could not tell for sure if the mass was benign or malignant, until he performed a biopsy on it. He advised me that with my history, I should really consider a complete hysterectomy. However, he was willing to keep an eye on it for a bit longer while I contemplated.
Do I chance it? I knew the viciousness of cancer. As my mothers’ caretaker, I helplessly watched her suffer for years. On the other hand, a hysterectomy was permanent. Not only did my husband and I want another child, but I believed I would be less of a woman. Although my husband assured me that I would be no different to him, I still couldn’t make the decision.
Was I was looking for validation that I wasn’t overreacting? What would my mother have advised me to do?
Being in this situation made me appreciate my mothers’ courage even more. She fought this horrible disease for over 10 years. She never once questioned whether or not to have another surgery. She always agreed to try another treatment with the hope that one would work. She did what she had to do. And I have no doubt that she made those decisions with her family in mind.
I am, after all, my mothers’ daughter, and when it came down to it, I had to do what was best for my family. So, I had the surgery.