You Don’t Have to Be Your Mother
The pages you are about to begin contain my story, the story of a woman who has discovered that she has breast cancer. It is a story that spans generations of the past and the future - both my mother and my grandmother died young of cancer, and since I received my diagnosis while pregnant, this is also the story of the birth of my son.
It was for him, when he was just a few months old, that I initially began to write. Facing an uncertain future, I wanted him to have something of me, come what may. But after a while, I realized that I was also writing this for myself, for my family, and for other women and their families who - when faced with having to cope with breast cancer or its legacy in themselves or in those dear to them - might want to sit down with someone else’s story. For like the good that comes to us from talking with a close friend, reading about another person’s experience can bring comfort. It can help.
It’s been twenty-four years since I was diagnosed with cancer; I’ve undergone two mastectomies and my doctors tell me that I am cancer-free. I have the best twenty-four-year-old son in the world. I have been lucky that, when I needed them, people shared their stories with me, stories that I needed to hear. Now it’s my turn to share this one with you.”
“A deeply moving and elegantly written story of a heroic woman who had to make a series of life-and-death decisions in the context of a grim family legacy and a child not yet born, and who did it with courage and grace. It will have great meaning not only to those women suddenly confronted with a breast cancer diagnosis but to anyone who has known the burden of living with a familial cancer threat. No reader can fail to be swept up by this powerful story.”
“Feldman is courageous and she writes gracefully...Haunting and vivid.”