Angela King, Q13FOX News
October 31, 2008
Breast cancer can kill. Every year, it does - more than 40,000 in 2008.
And if it doesn't conquer you, Katie Hogan says," I like a radio that's on in your head all the time that you can never turn off, and the best that you can hope for is try to turn down the volume as much as you can to give yourself a break."
But what about your children?
"How do I talk to her? How do I explain what's happening to me without scaring her?" says Nicole Taylor. Of all the distractions - the dark moments - this is the most difficult. Just ask Anna Schumacher.
"You stop fearing for your life. You start fearing your child is going to grow up without a mother."
It's a revelation Niicole knows all too well. She lost her mother to a brain tumor at age six. Now, a dose of déjà vu, except this time, it's Nicole's turn to be the calming force.
"We get these difficult questions from our kids: is your cancer never coming back or are you cured mommy? It's a difficult answer because the truth is we don't know."
But while questions are Nicole's quandry - confirmation is Courtney Preusse's heartbreak.
"The increase in estrogen that would be created by a pregnancy would make the cancer come back without a doubt," says Courtney.
This has not been an easy conclusion for Courtney to accept. She wants to have children and she could chance it.
"So that's where my mind toys with my heart and i think maybe it won't come back," says Courtney.
And that's where Andrew comes in. He says," It doesn't do anything for me to gain a child and lose my wife."
"If I bring a child into this world and I die five years later - it's a fact. I've been to my friends' funerals. Women my age die," says Courtney.
But the option of surrogacy is breathing new life, into the Preusse's dream of becoming three.
For those still fortunate enough to have children, cancer still has it's repercussions and it's questions.
Nicole once asked, "How do I get my son in his car seat when I'm not supposed to lift five pounds for six weeks after surgery. These women said 'jelly beans'. That's what worked. I had a pocket full of jelly beans for a year and a half and that's what got him in and out of his car seat."
So It's the little things, and each other, that help these young survivors get through. For Anna, it's the love of her little one.
"He shaved his head when my hair started coming out last week. He thought if mom's going to have a shaved head, then I have to have a shaved head. Then he also put my lipstick on, and I'm like -- we got to start slowing this down!"
And these ladies are in no mood to rush the moment. Family means so much.
"These wonderful milestones that other people take for granted," says Anna.
And yes - cancer has taken many lives and too many friends. It kills. It can crush your spirit and consume your every thought. But if there ever was a case study in love and support --the perfect example of what it means to be there for someone -- cancer's not the conqueror. These women are.
Members of the Young Survival Coalition and the Northwest Young Women Survivors say early diagnosis is the key. They urge women (men too) to perform those self examinations regularly, and have those mammograms.