Wendy NielsenThe paper crinkled beneath me as both the nurse and doctor examined the images of the tumor on the computer monitor. My
pale husband hovered in the background. The doctor glided the ultrasound wand over my left breast and armpit searching for the best spot to insert the aspiration needle so to grab tumor cells for a biopsy.

Tears were falling down the sides of my face and dripping onto the paper. The nurse, clearly trying to distract me, asked, “How old is your little girl?” The inside of my nose burned and the lump in my throat barely let me get out “almost nine months.” She continued, “What’s her name?” Floodgates. I plead “Please, I’d rather not talk about her right now.”

The two questions that consumed me the day of my diagnosis were: 1) Who will be a mother to my child? 2) What did I do to get cancer?

My breast cancer diagnosis blindsided me and it has not only forever changed me as a person, but also as a mother.  It took my fertility, left me scarred and tattooed, and achy like an 80-year-old.  At times, it has made me both anxious and depressed, frustrated and discouraged, but most of all, it terrifies me.  I worry about a recurrence and what my odds would look like then.  My little girl was just a baby back in 2008, but I fear if cancer came back today she would definitely understand the battle that would lie ahead and I simply cannot bear to see her worry about me.

Not only do I anguish over my own health, but hers as well.  At this point many experts would suggest she start mammography exams at age 23 – a whole ten years before I was diagnosed.  Twenty-three year olds should be having fun, not mammograms.  I don’t carry the BRCA gene mutation, so I’m left to wonder if it was something I did, ate, inhaled, was exposed to, stood next to, contracted, or was born with to cause this disease.  Without knowing what caused my breast cancer, I am worried that I cannot protect her from it

This is why I choose to Act with Love.

The Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation is challenging us as a community to invest ourselves and our dollars into preventive research.  The only way we can 100 percent prevent breast cancer by uncovering the cause of the disease.  This is the only way to quiet the fear and worry as a parent – well, until she starts dating and driving!

I proudly support the Foundation’s efforts to end breast cancer and Act with Love to create a future without breast cancer.  I am a member of the Army of Women and have participated in the Health of Women Study.  I do it for myself, my sister, my girlfriends, my neighbors, but I especially do it for my daughter and her friends.  I feel like doctors are so close to finding out what causes breast cancer and I’m certain we’ll see this disease eradicated in my lifetime.  It will happen  – with love.

Wendy Nielsen

Blogger, Mother, and proud supporter of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation

To learn more about Wendy’s story visit: www.wendy-nielsen.com.

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10 Responses to I Act with Love For My Daughter

  1. Katy says:

    Beautifully written Wendy! You are a strong woman and inspiration to so many.

  2. Miya Goodrich-Phillips says:

    Awesome, Wendy! XOXOXO

  3. Natalie C. says:

    Love this, Wendy- you are amazing, strong and beautiful inside and out. Your daughter will grow up strong, healthy and informed- all because her mother loves her and wants the best for her. What a beautiful post.

  4. Beautifully written, Wendy. And spot-on – you summed up my feelings as well. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Kristin A. says:

    i cant even imagine having to go through something like that ever and especially with a newborn. thank you for sharing your story. that is a great pic too

  6. This is beautiful and heartbreaking. We should all do what we can so that our daughters don’t have to fight this disease as well. HUGS.

  7. traceyternent says:

    I can feel your pain, I had breast cancer when my daughter was 5 months old. That was 15 years ago when I was 27 years old. Had the chemo and radiation and a bilateral tram flap done 7 years ago. Everyday is a blessing from God, and we still don’t know what caused the cancer, went through all the questions, did your mom have it? And no, none in my family has had breast cancer just me. We are now facing the approaching time frame of my daughter just turning 16, and the big question of how so we monitor her and check her, the rule of mammograms 10 years prior to the age you got it doesn’t really fit, so I worry and worry, and my daughter says, Mom, it will be okay. Love each other every day and remain thankful.
    Hugs from Orlando,
    Tracey

  8. Marge Lyles says:

    Dear Wendy: I just had time to read your opening letter…I want to read the rest …but tonite, since I agree with
    Natalie, above: “Your daughter will grow up strong, healthy and informed- all because her mother loves her and wants the best for her. What a beautiful post…” …I want to go a step further and tell you my story: At age 61, I too, was DX with breast cancer…ductal, stage one. My daughter was 26, and we faced each other tearfully when we were able to get together. We live 1,000 miles apart! However, I had such HOPE that it had to rub off on her.
    Now, twenty years later, I just turned 82, and so have 20 yrs remission, having battled my “Tillie the Tumor” wholistically. I didn’t use conventional methods except for a lumpectomy. I changed my lifestyle and diet to natural ways, and throughout the twenty years always believed I would beat it. By the grace of God, I have made it thus far. Dr. Larry LeShan [Ph.D] in his book “Cancer As a Tunrning Point,” tells us that cancer comes to “teach us.” Bernie Siegal, M.D., tells us to “befriend our disease.” Thus I named my tumor and talked to “her” everyday, telling her to stay only long enough to teach me what I needed to know and then “melt away” to return to Mother Earth. What she taught me is the truth of Socarates’ statement, “Let Food be Thy Medicine ” Food IS our Medicine.when we learn what all we can about nutrition from reliable sources. Conventional medicine is invited to step in when our situation is advanced. But you are concerned about your daughter’s future. Learn now and start her out right with whole foods, not processed, nor split, and with natural substances for sweets, i.e. fruits…veggies….following the Government’s latest Pyramid. Wishing you and that sweet little one all God’s choicest blessings. M

  9. Jackie says:

    I simply can’t imagine going through that… the fear always there, the uncertainty, and the worry.

    You’re much stronger than I am that’s for sure and your daughter will be amazing, educated, and more importantly have you there with her always.

  10. Rich Devlin says:

    Wendy, thank you for sharing your experience. As the father of two young adult women who are surrounded by family breast cancer diagnosis, including their mom who recently passed away, I share your concern and fears. Supporting the work of the Susan Love Research Foundation is one of the tangible ways I fight back against this dreaded disease. My thoughts and prayers go out to support all women who struggle with the fear and the harsh reality of a breast cancer diagnosis.

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