Charlie’s Mom Wears Pink

Charlie’s mom never cared for pink. 

But after lacing up her sneakers that crisp October morning, Rebecca snapped a picture for her Facebook friends.

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“I look like a big ol’ bottle of Pepto!” she quipped.

Her sense of humor is never absent.

The atmosphere was festive at Race For A Cure. Runners rallied to support a worthy cause. Everyone wore pink and everyone wore a smile. But the brightest smile was worn by Rebecca, who crossed the finish line surrounded by loved ones, wearing a shirt that read:

 SURVIVOR.

Her journey toward that finish line began one year ago.

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A sharp, stabbing pain ran through her breast. It wasn’t constant, but it was becoming hard to ignore.

“I thought maybe I had pulled a muscle lugging Charlie around,” she said.

What else could it be? Rebecca was an active, healthy mom…and Charlie was a heavy baby.

“I took some Advil and went on my way,” she said. “Cancer never crossed my mind.”

 

It took several months for Rebecca to see a physician. Her mother suggested she go.

 

Then, on December 13th, Rebecca was feeding Charlie when the phone rang. She was anxiously awaiting her biopsy results, so she grabbed the phone, took a deep breath, and answered.

“The surgeon told me it was cancer…and my heart sank. I started crying so hard,” Rebecca recalled. “It was by the grace of God that John was there when I received the news. He’s usually gone by 4:30. He just happened to be off that day.”

Rebecca and John contacted families. Her mom and sister cried over the phone; Everyone was in complete shock. Doctors were called and an MRI was immediately scheduled.

“It all happened so fast,” she said.

And as the world began spinning around her, Rebecca sat down in her chair and held Charlie close.

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The news wasn’t good. There were multiple tumors, and they were spreading rapidly. A lumpectomy was not an option.

So, at 30 years old, Rebecca agreed to a bilateral mastectomy (complete removal of all breast tissue). Surgery was scheduled in two weeks: December 26th.

 

Christmas was tough. Family came from out of town to celebrate and support one another. There was laughter and delicious food…but Rebecca couldn’t eat. Her stomach was in knots. She tried to participate in the tree, the gifts, the festivities. She tried to be okay.

 

But at the end of the night, Rebecca had to say goodbye to sweet, little Charlie.

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And really….it wasn’t okay.

“I started sobbing.” Rebecca said. “Oprah, ugly-faced crying. My sister started crying, too…and that’s when my nephew ran out of the room, yelling for our mom.”

She laughed at the memory.

“There’s some grown up stuff going on in there!” he yelled.

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When the surgery was complete, her diagnosis was official: Stage II Her2 Neu-positive breast cancer. Several lymph nodes had to be removed from her arm. When she awoke, everything was weird. Everything hurt.

But there was one medication that numbed her pain.

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“My sweet Charlie was the best medicine during that time. When I got to see him, I felt no pain. He was always my focus,” she said.

One night, before Rebecca’s hair fell out, Charlie came to her with a brush.

“I brush Momma’s hair!” he said.

All Rebecca could do was cry.

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Chemotherapy was brutal.

Rebecca told me about a sterile environment, where beds are tucked into little cubbies and tubes send medicine through ports.

“It’s not like Samantha in Sex in the City where they all sit around in a glorious setting eating Popsicles with friends,” she said. “It’s a very sad room…Everyone is cold and covered in blankets. Some people get sick. Some people are sleeping.”

 

Not surprisingly, Rebecca was smiling.

 

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*****

The changes to Rebecca’s body were hard. They still are. She can’t have implants until her skin heals from radiation. Her hair is still growing in. Her muscles are weaker than before.

But, in many ways, Rebecca is a stronger person.

 

“My perspectives have changed. I know what is important: Faith, family, friends, and time. Things that would worry me before don’t cause me a second thought now. I don’t get worked up and I don’t get in a hurry. Each day is a gift and I truly try to treasure each moment…as Polyanna as that sounds,” Rebecca said.

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Charlie did notice his mother’s hair loss.

“The only thing he noticed was my bald head, which he loved,” Rebecca said. “He always yanked my hats and scarves off! Ha!”

 

That’s the thing about Rebecca: She’s always laughing. She brings light into the lives of every person she meets.

 

And the miraculous news is that Rebecca’s laughter will continue to spread that sunshine.

 

Because as of October 6th, 2014, Rebecca Hall is in REMISSION.

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You see, Charlie’s mom wears pink because she CAN. She’s alive. She’s HERE. And she wants to spread awareness of the disease that tried to take her away.

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“I’m alive! I’m raising my sweet boy! And that’s all I ever wanted.”

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Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump. Know your body. Self-exam. 

For information on prevention, research, and awareness, please visit www.bcrfa.org

October isn’t over! Let’s continue to spread awareness. Share this story or one like it. Show your support.

#BreastCancerAwareness

About The Author


MomBabble

Mary Katherine is a southerner, born and raised. Growing up in Alabama, she developed an affinity for lightning bugs, sweet tea, playing guitar, and having strong opinions. She's happily married with a son (Nugget) and two fur babies. Fun facts: MK is a living kidney donor, speaks a little Thai, and has written two novels.

12 Comments

  1. So sweet of you to write this article and spread awareness on behalf of my sister! Loved it (and several other articles I’ve gone back to read)! Love your writing!

  2. I was still in bed when I got the text that morning. It took several minutes before I realized it was not just a bad dream. I did not have words. It took several more minutes before I could call, still without words except “I love you” and “let’s get started.” Thank you for a well-written story. Thank you, Bec, for being such a courageous, inspiring, wonderful daughter for your old Dad.

  3. I have been in remission as of Dec. 8, 2014. I’m waiting for the reconstruction phase. I loved this line in the article: “Each day is a gift and I truly try to treasure each moment”. I don’t stress about the little things anymore.

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