A motherly connection to help heal the wounds

This entry was written by Jackie Roth, PhD student at Thomas Jefferson University. Jackie was diagnosed with Stage III A breast cancer at the age of 28. Every other Friday, throughout the entire year of 2011, Jackie will share a blog entry about her breast cancer experience. This year-long blog series is in honor of LBBC’s 20th anniversary.

To read Jackie’s previous entries, enter “ Jackie Roth” in the search box on this site.

Jackie and the motherly figures who are helping her through her journey in the absence of her biological mother.

Although the spring is full of sunshine and overall happiness, this time of year always makes me a little sad.  In particular around Mother’s Day, which just passed a few weeks ago.  My mom, Mindy, passed away 6 years ago in July 2005 at 49 years old due to colon cancer.  She was diagnosed with Stage IV disease when she was 48.  It was only six months between the time of her diagnosis and her death.

Not a day goes by that I don’t think about her.  She passed away when I was 23, and I feel like I was just at the age when we were starting to become friends.  I know that I definitely had a little attitude as a teenager growing up, which probably prevented us from being super close.  My attitude was just starting to wear off when she was diagnosed.  I know there is a saying that your golden birthday, which would be when I was 22, is supposed to be the best year of your life.  It was my last year with my mom.

My mom was an absolutely wonderful person.   My husband, Ron, never got a chance to meet her.  She was incredibly smart, one of those people who could just complete a cross word puzzle in no time (and without cheating on the internet too!).  She could sing very well and starred in musicals in her school growing up.  I remember her, and my dad, giving up so much so that my sister and I could have the best opportunities possible.  My mom would drive me to ballet classes and performances in the city after school, giving up her afternoons and evening.   She took my sister and me to the mall at least once a week to shop for clothes for us, but she rarely got anything.  At the last Christmas we got to spend with her we got her a really nice designer scarf, umbrella, and sunglasses.  She cried when she opened the presents because she was so shocked.  Now, my dad has her scarf, my sister has her sunglasses, and I have the umbrella.  

Going through my breast cancer journey is difficult without my mom.  Most of my friends have their mothers accompany them to the doctors, to chemo, to radiation as well as care for them after surgery.  Being sick sometimes you just want your mother.  There are some things that moms can just make all better, and I felt like cancer was one of those things too.  Maybe if she were here, she could make it all go away. 

Although my mom was not with me along this journey, I know she was watching from above and she sent some pretty wonderful people in her place to be with me.  Barbara is my mother-in-law who basically took over my apartment and ran the show while I was out for surgery and chemo.  She sends cards and gifts at each milestone of my treatment!  Dale is actually the mother to one of my best friends, and also a breast cancer survivor.  At the beginning of my treatments, Dale gave me a coin to carry that was with her during her treatments.  It hasn’t left my wallet since.  She also called every week to see how I was doing, and it was great talking to someone who has really been through it all.  My Dad got married just a short time after I did, to a wonderful woman named Iza.  I have a lot in common with her, mostly our love of fashion.  Iza never comes to visit without bringing me a cute new outfit and it always puts a smile on me face.  Although I miss my mom dearly every day, I know that I can count on these women and I am so thankful to have them in my life. 

How has your breast cancer diagnosis helped you form long-lasting relationships with women who you otherwise wouldn’t have crossed paths with? Like Jackie, sometimes during devestating times, we are put in the paths of others who have a special way in helping us heal. Tell us your story! Comment here or on our Facebook page.

15 thoughts on “A motherly connection to help heal the wounds

  1. Jacks, a beautiful entry. It brought tears to my eyes. Your mom truly made you the beautiful woman you are today. She knew you were in good hands and hearts. Love you babe!

  2. Jackie,
    This entry was amazing. In a way painful because I feel a littl guilty because I am lucky enough to have my mom around. You are soooooo strong and so beautiful and your mom made sure their were other angels to watch over her precious daughter. You have overcom so much and thank you for helping me through it too.


  3. Jackie,
    Your story really touched a place inside my heart! Although, I was 49 y/o when I got diagnosed-my Mom had just died 2 years prior to my diagnosis,and you are right-Moms do make everything better!I cried out for her on MANY occasions durng my treatment! My Mom and I were very close-but I had the opportunity you were denied,because by 46 when I lost her,all our “kinks” had been worked out-lol(laughing out loud!). My mom, was amazing at crossword puzzles too.The New York Times,etc.,the more difficult ,the better!I used to look,and just shake my head at how smart she was! But,you’re right-she has sent you several “angels”to do the job she would have-so you are blessed in abundance!There is a community of strength in this “pink world” we now inhabit.Every conference,seminar,event I attend,I add at least several more “sisters” to my friendship circle! So, God Bless you Jackie,and the “angels”He has around you! Trust an”older”lady…Your Mom is smiling down at you,and she is so proud of your grace,and your strength in fighting this battle.I bet if you try,you can see her smiling at you,and saying,”That’s my Girl”! All the best…

  4. O Jackie I honestly can’t think of anything Mindy would have wanted more on the earth than to be with you through this challenge. She loved you and Adrianne so very very much. Surely she has had a hand in putting some special ‘angels’ on watch around you. That’s absolutely something she would do! I think of her and miss her so often- she was a wonderful friend and she was taken far too soon. I’m glad you have had good support from the other ‘moms’ in your life. God bless them everyone. Much love.

  5. Jackie, Judy Krouse sent me your beautifully written comments about your cancer and your Mom. My wife, Cynthia, went through surgery, chemo and radiation 14 years ago, and so much of what you wrote resonates with me. Best wishes.
    Roger Eastlake

  6. Jackie, you are so much like your mom, my daughter, Mindy. She was a fighter and so are you. I think of both of you every day. She was taken from us far too soon. Just keep on fighting, like I know you can. Love, Shirley Schinke, Gram.

  7. Jackie,

    I just read this entry and it had me crying. I just lost my dad to cancer this past January, and it still hurts everyday. They never found the primary site of his cancer, and by the time they found it it was in every bone of his body. Like your mom it was about 6 months between diagnosis and his untimely death. I love both my parents more than anything, but I know there’s a special bond between a mother and daughter, and I can’t imagine going through what you are, much less without your mom. You seem to have an amazing support system to say the least, and I think you are right that your mom sent them all your way. You continue to be in my thoughts and my prayers, and I hope you are feeling better with every new day! You truly are an inspiration!

    Christine G.

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