Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Parent to Parent: Mommy Has Cancer
When a young, single mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, she didn't know how to tell her little boy. Now this inspiring mom's story is helping other families cope with cancer. 7's Lynn Martinez shows us in today's Parent to Parent.
Andrea Nugent was enjoying being a new mom but by the time her son, Zachary, turned 2 years old, she felt something strange.
Andrea Nugent: "It started with a pain in the breast and I tell everybody all the time you don't always have a lump."
She had a mammogram but didn't find out until months later what was wrong.
Andrea Nugent: "I got the news that it was stage three breast cancer."
Her first thoughts were of her son.
Andrea Nugent: "Oh my God, am I going to see him get married? Am I going to see him graduate from high school?"
Her treatment plan was aggressive.
Andrea Nugent: "I underwent 18 rounds of chemo over the course of six months. I lost my hair, my eyebrows, I gained 40 pounds; I didn't look like myself."
She wondered how the changes were affecting her child.
Andrea Nugent: "I just kept thinking how does this little person view me now? Does he realize I'm still mommy?"
At the same time, she felt strongly about not keeping her breast cancer a secret from Zachary.
Andrea Nugent: "It's better to talk about it, be upfront, let them know it's OK to have concerns, that way it kind of removes the fear."
Andrea felt moved to write a book about what she was going through. It's called "Mommy is Still Mommy: Cancer Can't Change That!"
Andrea Nugent: "I just wanted to reassure him that no matter what takes place, I'm still here, I'm still mommy."
They would sit and read together and Zachary could ask questions.
Andrea Nugent: "I just felt there were so many women in the same boat as me that were young, that have young children, and maybe they don't know how to talk to their children."
Andrea brought out the book again when she had a recurrence last year.
Andrea Nugent: "The breast cancer cells metastasized to the liver, stage four terminal."
Despite the diagnosis, Andrea feels great. She's an active mom, who hopes her book will help other families coping with cancer.
Andrea Nugent: "I just hope that this book will become a conversation starter."
Lynn Martinez: "The good news is as of April, Andrea's pet scans show she is in full remission!
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