Eighth grade is a time of change for all kids. It’s when you’re finally becoming a teenager and when you prepare yourself for the new start of high school within the next few months. Things change often in eighth grade, but I never expected, in a sit-down conversation with my parents, to have everything I thought I knew so well at the time, completely changed. The change in my mom’s voice was a change I never wanted to hear. I’ve never heard her so upset and concerned with a hint of nervous in her voice before. My dads walk was different when he finally came in to sit down and start the most life changing talk.

January 18, 2013 was the day my mom was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer.  When you’re younger, you sit and think, “Not me. Not my family.” But at 13 years old, with a mom as sick as mine, you learn anything can happen at any point in time. Even to the people you love most. To the lady who has taken care of you, day and night, for over the past 13 years you’ve been on this earth.

The color pink suddenly had a changed meaning along with everything else I thought I knew. The color was always a girly color to me since I grew up a tomboy. The color pink suddenly meant so much more than just a girly color. Pink suddenly meant strength, courage, fight and hope. Everything in the house was suddenly pink. From the shirts and presents given to us from family friends to the bandana’s mom wore when she lost her hair.

No one expects one day to see their mother with no hair. Let alone see her get her hair shaven off by a friend. As you watch her long black curly hair be slowly shaven off, you just sit there and think, “What’s going to change next?” The pink bandanas she wore got old pretty quick, so within a few days we had the whole rainbow of bandanas. Every outfit she could ever wear had a bandana to match it. Friends were bringing her new bandanas all the time, some of the funkiest colors and designs I’ve ever seen. It became a game to us and our family friends, to find the most colorful, funkiest bandanas and buying them knowing my mom was not about to put those ugly bandanas on her head and wear it in public.

After two surgeries, four rounds of chemo and 31 rounds of radiation, she finally became cancer free. The change we were seeing and living wasn’t all so bad anymore. The change suddenly was something I was looking forward to and noticing even at 13. We slowly started to see her hair grow back. Starting off as a black curly afro she said she had in the 80’s, to the shoulder length curls she has today.

Change happens.

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