Mom’s Book Helps Kids Cope with Breast Cancer
Written by Jackie Jones, BlackAmericaWeb.comThursday, 27 October 2011 12:11
When Kerri Conner’s mother developed breast cancer, the disease was a taboo subject.
“I was 19, 20. We didn’t talk about it at all,” Conner said. “When she lost her hair, we acted like we didn’t even notice it.”
What Conner did learn, however, was that there was a family trait for breast cancer, and she started having mammograms at age 29. Most women don’t start until age 40.
Her foresight saved her life. She was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 33.
Conner didn’t want her daughter – who was just two at the time – to have the bewildering experience of seeing her mother’s looks change without some sort of acknowledgement. So the CPA turned first-time author wrote “My Mommy Has Breast Cancer, But She Is OK!” a children’s book designed to explain breast cancer, the fatigue and the hair loss that come with treatment in terms a young child can understand. The book also is intended to reassure children who see their mothers in pain or fatigued as they undergo treatment that it is all part of the recovery process. Read full article at Black America Web
“My main focus is just to inform and support the families,” Conner said.
It worked for Conner’s daughter, Madison.
“She looks at cancer the way other people look at a cold,” Conner said. “We’ve done a lot of books signings in Philadelphia (where Conner lives), and they call it the Maddie Movement.”
Conner said that when she was diagnosed, “there were no books out there that would tell (Maddie) what I was going through in a way that wouldn’t scare her and with images that looked like her.”
Going through the surgery, chemo and reconstructive surgery was not an easy process.
“By the time my cancer was detected, it was Stage Three, and I had been having mammograms since I was 29,” faithfully. The only mammogram she ever missed was the year she was pregnant with Madison.
Because of her strong family history, Conner started chemotherapy, had a double-mastectomy, then more chemo and, later, reconstructive surgery.
She underwent six surgeries in three years. And while she has been cancer-free for the past two years, she said she still has a lot of tenderness and bouts of fatigue.
But Conner says she has learned to put things in perspective, stress less over the little things and be grateful for the good things in her life. Seeing her own mother recover from breast cancer, for example, “has been a blessing to me,” she said.
Her guiding philosophy now, she says, is “Would I be happy if this were my last day? I do believe God spared my life for a reason. And that was to share my story.”