By Mary Kay Jurovcik, guest blogger
“When I’m a mom, I’ll probably get cancer,” my 5-year-old daughter says to me as she watches me get a blood draw from my port. It’s my first draw post-treatment. My first test as a post-treatment survivor.
And here I am clearly faced with another test.
I haven’t been able to shelter my young children from my breast cancer treatment. They’ve been there, touching my soft, bald head as my hair fell out, playing with my scarves, quietly watching movies instead of playing outside because I’m too tired to move off the couch.
I am a survivor, and my children are also survivors.
I want to hold her and hug her and tell her she’ll never have cancer. I want to promise her that I have fought this battle for her. And, because I won, she’ll never have to fight. I want to tell her that I’ll have cancer 100 times to make sure she never does.
But I can’t make that promise.
The fact is she probably won’t have cancer, and that’s what I tell her. She’s 5, and at this time, all she needs to know is that most moms don’t have cancer, and even though hers did, we know many, many moms who don’t.
When she’s older and my cancer is just part of the crisscross of her memories, then we can talk about her increased risk and self-breast exams and early mammograms. Then, we can talk about possibilities and percentages.
If, God forbid, she does have cancer one day, then we’ll talk about surviving.
Because I’m an expert on that.
I’ll hold her hand and walk with her through treatment. I’ll tell her that every day you wake up and say: “I’m going to be here, present, today, tomorrow and the next day.” I’ll hold her, and hug her and tell her that I would have cancer 100 times if I could do it for her.
I’ll do that because I will be alive to do it.
I’ll do it because I survived, and so will she.
Mary Kay Jurovcik is a wife, mother, writer and cancer survivor. At the age of 33, she was diagnosed with stage 2B, HER2+ breast cancer. With no family history or prior experience with cancer, Mary Kay took to documenting her journey through treatment, both for catharsis and communication. She is currently working on turning her online journal, sticky notes and bar napkins into a book with the hope to help others facing similar and dissimilar adventures. Mary Kay lives in Lake Stevens, Washington, with her husband, two young daughters and an old Rat Terrier named Squints.
Watch Mary Kay on New Day Northwest, talking about her participation in the clinical trial program at Providence Regional Cancer Partnership.