Thank you Grandma, I love you and I’m sorry

Dear Grandma Viola,

We never met. I am the oldest daughter of your youngest daughter. You passed away only a few years before I was born. My mother watched you be diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 51, go through a barbaric mastectomy, which was the best they could do at the time I suppose. I understand that you passed away at 58, partly due to your fear of cancer and doctors and by the time you sought treatment it was too late. I’m sorry for your pain and your early departure. Mom told me years later that having seen you suffer with cancer at the age of 15, that she was so terrified of her breasts to the point that she begged her own doctor to remove hers. At that time, prophylactic mastectomies were unheard of. In hindsight, I understand that fear.

Great Grandma, Grandma, now me.

I don’t wish to follow the same path as my fore-mothers.

I will not let fear rule my outcome. I will be a warrior and wear our family crest upon my scars.

I am a 21st century woman with options of improved diagnosis and care for breast cancer survivors. The science that is available now is staggering and I am sure will be beyond our imaginings 50 years from now.

Angelina Jolie and countless other women who have had to make the difficult choice for a prophylactic mastectomy suffer much criticism and heat. I am here to say that unless you have sincerely walked that path, unless you have seen someone you love be ravished by cancer, you must refrain from making judgement about this very intense and personal decision. Trust me that this is not a fickle decision, like what kind of hair cut to get…

In my case, the surgery is not prophylactic, but a genuine action against the cancer growing in my breast. I will not let fear rule my outcome. I will meet this head on.

 

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15 thoughts on “Thank you Grandma, I love you and I’m sorry

  1. Bravo Melissa. You write beautifully, thank you for taking us on your journey. My best thoughts and wishes are with you.

  2. Melissa, My grandmother, on dad’s side had Uterine Cancer and passed away before I was born. True in those years they didn’t have the technology that they have today. I so admire your attitude, strength through all of this….My thoughts, prayers to you and your family……I purchased both of our labs from your mom and dad and think of them often…

  3. Absolutely beautiful, touching and heartfelt. Your ability to share is so meaningful..so profound. Do wear that crest..with pride and honor.

  4. Whew, Melissa!!! You blow me away. Your strength, determination. bravery and outlook….and your sharing it…brings tears to my eyes. You are amazing and I admire everything about you. My thoughts and healing light are yours.

  5. Melissa, your choice is yours alone, but know that we support you in all you’re doing to be alive and healthy for your self and your wonderful family. We love you! Paul, Lisa Elias and Xavier

  6. Go to your computer and make a large poster that says COURAGE and hang it somewhere in your house that you pass 100 times a day!

  7. Dear Melissa, thank you for sharing your journey, your thoughts and feelings. You are an incredible strong, soulful and inspiring woman. Sending you bright healing light and surrounding you with warm love.
    Much love to you and your family.
    Sharon

  8. Dearest Melissa, You are in my prayers constantly, I know going through the cancer battle will make you stronger but you shouldn’t have to! I don’t want this to be happening to you or my sister. I was so happy when Glory and my Brca tests came back negative. I thought our family’s females were home free. So true that we are luckier now than 40 years ago, however it’s no less traumatic. I can’t find the words to say to you to make it any better.Just know I am here for you, love aunt Larraine

  9. Strong, beautiful warrior…our love, prayers and light are being sent your way. -The Yonnetti Family

  10. Melissa, you are a gift. You are constantly in my thoughts and prayers.

    Love, Win

    On 7/9/14 7:08 PM, “melissa’s healing hope” wrote:

    > Melissa Eppard posted: “Dear Grandma Viola, We never met. I am the oldest > daughter of your youngest daughter. You passed away only a few years before I > was born. My mother watched you be diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of > 51, go through a barbaric mastectomy, which wa” >

  11. Melissa…I feel your strength and determination. Your pride and your fear (which deserves to be acknowledged.) Prayers are coming your way; energetic empowerment from others, myself. I see you growing old and happy, content and accomplished…..
    Mark Suresh

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