When a mother receives a breast cancer diagnosis, one of her first thoughts is the children.
What will the kids do without their mom? Will they be okay without me? These are just two of the questions that run through a mom’s head after a breast cancer diagnosis.
“Of all the things I’ve ever done in my life, being a mom felt like the most natural thing for me to do,” said Laurie Paskavitz. “My first baby was born when I was 17 and my last baby was born when I was 40, so I’ve been both a teen mom and an advanced maternal age mom.”
For Laurie, a breast cancer diagnosis wasn’t remotely on her radar. She got regular mammograms like she was “going to the dry cleaners and getting my oil changed,” she said. “I did it as a checkbox and never thought about it.”
Until that point, everything for the family was smooth sailing, relatively speaking. When her daughter was turning seven, the family booked a trip to Disney. Yet, these plans were disrupted by one phone call.
“The feeling of being diagnosed with cancer was unlike any other trauma I’ve ever had in my life, this loss of control of your body, this betrayal of your cells,” she said.
Laurie’s breast surgeon at Winchester Hospital said, “It’s going to be a tough year, but we’re going to do it together and it’s going to be okay.”
It was tough, but Laurie made it through the diagnosis, treatment and the toll afterward.
“The fact that I made it through the treatment gives me the gift I want the most,” she said. “I want to witness their lives.”
For more information on Lahey Health’s cancer services, check out the Lahey Health Cancer Institute.