Monday, August 23, 2010

What We Have by Amy Boesky

When you were a child, did you grow up with pictures of family on your wall? You could have had them in your hallway along the staircase, or in the family room on a bookshelf. Most of the time, this was a good thing. You were able to see relatives or yourself progress from a child into a teen and then an adult. Well for Amy, this was not the case. The photos that aligned her wall were photos of family members that died of ovarian cancer. It was a memorial wall.

As far as Amy could remember, she was plagued with the idea that she could one day develop ovarian cancer. This, of course, caused her to live her life by a time line. The goal was to graduate from college, get married, and have a certain amount of kids by a certain age and then have a hysterectomy. Because of her family history, she had to have certain tests performed every six months to make sure she was in the clear. The questionnaire part was fine, but the blood work, ultrasound, and then the "waiting" was grueling. And then six months later, it was the same procedure all over again.

Things for her were starting out the way she had wanted them to go. She got married and became pregnant. The exciting part was that her sister was also pregnant too. The things took a turn for the worse and her life started to feel as though it was crumbling. Her sister lost her baby and they became somewhat distant. She also found out through her mother that her sister was moving. Along the way they found out that their mother developed breast cancer, which was odd to them because it didn't run in their family. She lucked out and beat it, according to her doctor. Then five years or more later, she started to have back and side pain. At first they thought this was an osteoporosis problem but later found out that it was breast cancer that spread to her bones. This was very devastating of course. Breast cancer didn't run in their family and now their mother had stage 4 breast cancer. Each time she went in for test, the results turned up worse and worse. Then they found out that not only did and ovarian cancer gene run in their family, but also a breast cancer gene.

There are five stages called the Kubler-Ross's Stages:

1. Denial

2. Anger

3. Bargaining

4. Depression

5. Acceptance

Amy went through all of these stages of emotions when it came to dealing with her mother's cancer.

This book is one that I believe everyone should read. It is a great memoir that takes you through the true journey of cancer and how it affects not only the person who has it, but also the family related to that person.