This simple yet simply terrifying diagnosis can feel like a
family curse, a genetic time bomb or a looming death sentence to a
woman of any age. But even more so to a mother of young children
whose first thought and foremost priority is not about herself.
It's about her children-their reaction, their future, their daily
How will she wake them for school each morning while undergoing
radiation treatment? How will she be able to tuck them in each
night after a draining day of chemotherapy? How will she shower
them with attention, if not affection, while battling for her very
Such scenarios are more common than ever these days with the
rising numbers of younger women diagnosed with breast cancer,
according to a new study. Published in the Journal of the American
Medical Association, it shows that advanced breast cancer in women
ages 25 to 39 has risen roughly 2 percent each year since 1976.
There's no definitive explanation as to why, nor a reversal in
sight, experts theorize.
This age demographic is prime time for motherhood, meaning more
moms than ever before are forced to juggle this deadly disease with
their child-rearing duties.
How do they do it?
Chicago Parent talked with three moms, each diagnosed with
breast cancer "at the absolute worst time of our lives," as one of
them describes it. They may have lost their hair and their energy,
but they never lost their hope, thanks to their children, they say.
Here are their stories.