Corey is a mom of three; first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012 at thirty years old and was cancer free until her four-year mammogram. She loves to write and shares her story throughout the five years of treatments on her blog. Below is an excerpt from her book; I’m Still Here.
“Oreos and Billy Joel”
I tiptoed around my children for the last two weeks, making sure they didn’t find out about cancer coming back. I just wanted all of the information before I told them, in case they had questions.
Back in 2012, this is how I told my children, now keep in mind, Olivia was eight years old, Alaina was six years old, and Landon had just turned one year.
I will never forget this conversation for as long as I live. I started with “Do you know what breasts are?” Silly question maybe, but this is 2012, I refer to “breasts” as something you eat off a chicken. Girls have boobs, and that’s what I have told my daughters. They both looked up at me with their big blue eyes and shook their heads no. I explained that boobs are called breasts and that Mommy has Breast Cancer. Now, my Olivia remembers that when she was five her Papa (my dad) died of cancer. My Alaina associates cancer with a pre-school teacher she had, Miss Mandy. However, at the time Miss Mandy had breast cancer, Alaina was only three and doesn’t remember it. The minute I said cancer, Olivia started to cry, which made me cry, which then made Alaina cry. I tried to explain to them that I was going to be very sick for a while but that I would be better by the next year.
Fast forward to October 2016; I knew it was going to be harder this time to tell my daughters that cancer came back. They are older now and understand so much more than they did four years ago, and Landon is five now so I thought maybe he should know too.
I sat all three kids down on the couch with me. (This is nothing new, I sit and talk to my kids all the time.) I started talking to them about a friend of mine having cancer for the second time. I said, “it must have been hard for her to tell her little children, do you guys remember when I told you I had breast cancer?” Olivia who is now twelve and Alaina who is ten both said no, they didn’t remember. I told them I had to explain to them when they were little what breast are; they had a little chuckle along with “MOMMMM.” I looked at my beautiful, smart little girls and said: “I have breast cancer, again.” Olivia burst out into very loud cries followed by “I knew it! I heard you talking on the phone to Grammy, I just knew it! Are you going to die this time?!” Alaina just sat quietly with tears running down her face, and Landon had no clue and was screaming and jumping all over the place telling me I was dying because that’s probably the only thing her heard Olivia say.
Telling them four years ago was hard, but they were little and didn’t understand, so it wasn’t like they thought about it all the time. Having told them now, it was awful! After I calmed Olivia down and Landon stopped the craziness, I was able to talk to all of them about cancer. I held back the tears as much as I could, but a few snuck out. My little boy, so sweet when he wants to be, took my face in his hand, wiped away the tears coming down my cheek, looked at me with those beautiful blue eyes and said: “I had Oreos today at school for snack.” The girls and I busted out laughing. That was the best; we needed to laugh.
I went into the bathroom to get a tissue and Alaina followed me in. She hugged me so tightly and broke down crying, which made me cry some more. Later that night while we were eating dinner Olivia says “Cancer must really love you, mom, cause it’s not letting you go.” I told her I was going to be alright, and as Billy Joel put it, “only the good die young,” and we all know I haven’t been good for quite some time!
You can purchase Corey’s book on Amazon.