A Daughter’s Breast Cancer Journey; Through Her Mother’s Eyes: Part 1 of 3

This entry was written by Nancy Amorosi. Many of you may remember Jaime Rossano, one of the year-long series bloggers who, in a raw and honest tone, shared her breast cancer journey from diagnosis to post treatment in 2011. In this entry, her mother gives us her perspective of the journey. Over the year, she tried desperately to hide her true feelings of fear that consumed her heart facing the reality that she could never handle the idea of losing her baby girl.

Every Tuesday for the rest of this month, join Nancy as she recaps her daughter’s breast cancer diagnosis in a 3-week series.

Read Jaime’s blogs by searching “Jaime Rossano” in the search box on this site.

It was October 2010 and life was “routine”. Our 27-year-old daughter Jaime was married and had given birth to our beautiful grandson Ronnie. Just months after completing breast feeding her son she came to me and said she felt a lump in her left breast. She immediately went for a mammogram and although the radiologist said to have an excisional biopsy right away, I was not overly alarmed. She was only 27 years old. However, day after day as we waited for the results a sick feeling began to emerge. The phone call came and the words “Jaime your results are positive, you have breast cancer” would change our lives forever. I held her tight, holding her up as her knees buckled beneath her and the tears streamed down her face. I somehow found the strength to hold it together and whisper “everything will be okay; I will be beside you every step of the way.” How does a mother respond when her daughter screams in fear “I don’t want to die mom, I don’t want to die.” And so our journey began.

I remember that evening after spending time with my husband and him holding me tight, I escaped to the bathroom to be alone and the floodgates opened, my body trembled and I slid to the floor, sobbing in disbelief. How could this be? This should not happen to our little girl, this should happen to ME! She is too young, a new wife, a new mommy, still going to school and working. How could this be? I remember feeling so guilty almost as if it was my fault.

I kept myself busy with phone calls, organizing research, doctors, family, friends, and gathering resources. She needed the best and it was my job to find it and we did. The following weeks were consumed with appointments, tests, more appointments. At this point the reality of what was really happening did not set in just yet. Jaime and I spent hours talking and crying and trying to make sense of it all. Despite feeling helpless to stop this monster called “cancer” I pretended to be strong and spoke only of positive and reassuring words. At the end of each day my bathtub became my sanctuary. A place to release my tears, my fears and collapse in anger and frustration and I would pray like never before. “Please God, don’t let my daughter die”.

The most agonizing memory for me was at 4pm on surgery day when Jaime was still in surgery and I had to leave to pick up my 18-month-old grandson from daycare. I stood before the elevator shaking and crying knowing I would not be beside her when she awoke from this nightmare as I had promised. I knew she would understand and would want me to get her baby boy home safe. I drove my car all the way with tears streaming down my face knowing in my heart she would be okay. My heart never felt so torn! Surgery went well and two days later she went home. I was amazed at her ability to tolerate the pain and remain upbeat despite what this monster “cancer” just stole from her. My days were long and nights were short, caring for her baby at night, getting him to daycare in the am, and then caring for Jaime during the day while cleaning, cooking, doing laundry, lying together watching movies and talking about the future and staying positive all the while. When evening fell it was back to my sanctuary and a bubble filled tub to collapse and allow my emotions to flow which would allow me to start renewed each day with a sense of purpose and hope.

Ronnie, Nana and Pop Pop

31 thoughts on “A Daughter’s Breast Cancer Journey; Through Her Mother’s Eyes: Part 1 of 3

  1. My Heart, My Hope and My Prayers go out to you and your daughters as you embark upon this journey together. The truth is that NO ONE should have to experience this at ALL and maybe one day this will be true. For now, support one another, live, love and give the gift of time to each other. Be strong, cherish the good days, rest on the bad days and wake each day with HOPE in your heart. As my daughter would say “BE STRONG, BE FIERCE, BE YOU!!!

  2. Oh Nancy, all the heartache and emotion as only one who walked that walk is written here. Thanks for going there…others will need this kind of raw truth and your story shows there is a light at the end of a tunnel as long as you keep on looking for it.

    • Thanks Patsy for being there to hold me up on days when I was falling down. You may never know how much your being there meant to me. It is friends like you that made the journey just a bit easier. Love and hugs!

  3. Wow, Nanc, how beautifully and powerfully you’ve written about this. You are both still in my prayers all the time.
    Love ya,

    • Thanks Jolynn for your flurry of prayers and ongoing support. Life gets busy and yet you always remembered to check in on me and I know your prayers were there for us each and everyday. Love and hugs!

  4. Nancy, thanks for sharing your story. It seems like our whole family gets diagnosed with cancer when this happens to us. It is hard on everyone. Thank you for staying strong and being Jaime’s rock through it all. You too, are an inspiration.
    Always in my prayers
    Diane Bittner

    • Oh Diane, let me be the one to say THANK YOU to you!!! You have been one of the strongest and supportive “sisters” that Jaime has had thru this journey. You are truly amazing and have been a gift to us all. On the days when I was weakest I always knew Jaime could turn to you and you would ALWAYS be there!! You have touched my heart forever!

  5. Nancy, You have been a real rock for Jaime through this whole process. I just want you to know how special you are!!!! I have kept you and Jaime in my prayers!!! I will always cherish our special friendship……

    • You my dear friend have heard more of my tears fall than most and for that I thank you. I too cherish our special friendship! Love and hugs.

  6. Nancy you are a strong mother and a great one at that!! I know Jaime would not have made it through with out the support of you and her father!! I am so excited to say that she kicked that monster cancer’s ass and I dont think she would have been able to do it as quickly as she did with out your constant positivity and support for her. The much needed love that is needed to go through all that she did!! You are a great mother and friend and I am happy to be part if your extended family keep up the great work!! Love ya

    • Jenn, your support and love to Jaime has been a true gift. You are a shining star which helped us thru the darkness. Stick around kiddo we just love you!!

  7. Nancy
    How beautiful: I am all filled up with tears and emotions. I have a 27 year old daughter and I can’t even imagine. I’ve come to know Jaime through her writing over the past year; and first let me say I can see why she is so remarkably strong. She gets it from YOU! As Jaime did in her writing you can bring us to the moment and allow us to feel what you feel; and beleive me we have all been through similar situations so we REALLY get it.
    A mothers love is so powerful! God gave you the stregth and courage to remain positive and to keep it all together for Jaime and the baby. He also gave you the grace to move yourself through this and let yourself feel the pain in a way that would not discourage Jaime. Only a mother with such a strong bond to her daughter can handle this situation so well.

    God Bless You All
    Lisa Marsella

  8. My 33 year old daughter was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer Dec. 2011 and started chemo early Jan. My initial emotions were just like yours, I felt I was reading my own story. She and her husband and their two young children, 3 yrs and 18 mos just moved to a new city last July and their closest relative is 5 hours away. We are 6.5 hours away and rearranged our work schedules to make the trip twice a month and stay a few days and bring our 18 month granddaughter back with us for a while. Long days and short nights explain it well. It’s been tough being so far away. Other relatives have been going out to help too. We are staying positive but some days it’s hard not to shed tears. Thanks for sharing your story. It’s been a help to me. You are an inspiration!! Bless you!

    • My heart goes out to you, your daughter and your entire family as we are all affected by this tragic diagnosis. I am so glad that despite the distance you have found a way to be close and still do what moms do….take care of our children, near or far. My heart aches for the days you are home without her at your side but know that she knows you are in her heart every minute of everyday. Stay strong mom, keep your head high, speak only of strength and courage and positive affirmations of hope. The year will be a long one but time passes quickly and this will all be a memory. Try journaling your feelings on the really bad days, it is okay if the paper gets tear drops on them. It helps to let it out. Find those few very special friends that are there to listen or just sit in silence with you when words are hard to find. They will be your angels. Thank you for sharing your story with me and may you never walk alone through this storm. Bless you and your baby girl!

  9. Sob, sob. That was heart wrenching but also a beautiful testimony from a wonderful, loving Mother & about her very brave & amazing Daughter with whom I have the pleasure of knowing for 25 years.

  10. Nancy,
    Such a painful journey and yet so beautifully written. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.
    May God continue to heal, bless, and bring glory out of this trial.
    Blessings to you all,
    Julie P

  11. March 3 will be my daughter Maureen’s 10 year anniversary. She was 30 when she was diagnosed. Though she has had multiple diagnoses of breast cancer with bone mets, many operations and lots of radiation, you need to know that she is still alive. I credit prayers, fantastic care at Lankenau and LBBC. LBBC and the Young Survivors made her feel like there were others out there just like her. It helped us to know that she was getting cutting edge treatments when we would go to conferences and listen to speakers talk about the latest and greatest. Only to realize that she had been receiving those treatments for some time.

    I pray that in 10 years you will be back here telling us about the latest in Jaimie’s life.

    Thank you Nancy and LBBC.
    Kate Denninn

      • We are at 12 years now and Maureen now has triple negative in addition to her HER2 +. She just finished chemo and will be having her mastectomies in March.

        thanks so much from another mother,

  12. My dear Nancy

    I'”ve read this in tears. knowing how you feel.. and I’m crying not to be there with you and Jaime to help. I know you feel so helpless you think you can’t do nothing for Jaime but. only to be there for Jaime…
    and that Nancy is the mean thing.. BEiING THERE…
    my dear cousin… You are so strong…you are like a lion mom. Nobody hurts my baby girl… and Jaime will always be you’re baby girll.. no matter how old Jaime is… so you be there for her and I thank you for that, cause I love you both a lot.
    Don;t you forget Nancy you’re so strong!!! and Jaime is so strong!!!… you know why???”Cause You’re both ARNOLD!!!
    And the Arnold can beat this monster.
    When I look at you and Jaime I see myself and I’m so proud of you two!!! You never walk alone…I be here to help…to do what i can…and I keep sending you and Jaime every day LOVE AND HUGS AND STRENGTH
    and remember no matter what … always keep the FAITH!!!

    love walter & hanny/holland

  13. Hanny,
    I can never thank you enough for your ongoing strength and support. As someone who has traveled this journey you know exactly what Jaime went through this past year. It does not matter that you live so far away in the Netherlands, it always felt like you were right here with us sitting on our shoulder speaking positive words of encouragement when we needed it most! Our family bond is an amazing one and you have been our angel of faith, hope, and strength. We love you so much. Love and hugs!!

    • It was a very difficult journey for our entire family, we are now rejoicing in life as Jaime remains cancer free!! Thank you for your warm and thoughtful response.

    • Thank you for posting to my story. Although it was a very difficult time, with positive thoughts, hope, prayer and love we got thru it.

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