My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer around Easter of 2022, shortly after she began retirement. She and my dad had many plans for retirement, and cancer wasn’t one of them.
Thankfully, she was given a great prognosis. She was given the choice of a less invasive lumpectomy, with a higher chance it would return on the other side, or a full mastectomy, with a much higher success rate.
This decision was very hard for my mom. And she took her time praying about it, talking to her doctors, and talking to family about her options.
I knew that whatever choice she made, that she was going to make the right choice for her and that God was going to be with her no matter what.
She made her decision to have a mastectomy. And, almost immediately, in came the jokes. My parents joked about my mom getting basketball boobs. They joked about getting baby bottle nipples. The jokes were endless and endlessly inappropriate for public. My mom even joked about having a boob cake or cupcakes. I knew it was hard for her, even though she was laughing. But laughter has always been one of my mom’s favorite coping skills.
In the days following, we did a lot of praying and talking. Then, I had a crazy idea. What if I could make at least one of the jokes a reality?
So, I contacted an old friend from high school. A highly respected local baker. I explained the situation with an “I would understand if you can’t do it”.
To which he responded, “sure, I’m up for the challenge”.
I gave him a minimal request of flavoring. And to be as modest or outrageous as he wanted. I also shared the wish that I just wanted to make my mom laugh and feel loved.
So, we picked a date. I told only a few close family members of my scheme.
It was the day to pick up my mom’s beloved cake. I get to the downtown area around 5pm, just in time for it to be super busy and crowded. I parked two blocks away and went walking to the bakery in my heels and business attire.
I walked in and gave them my name. After a few minutes, they brought out the cake. And what a cake it was! She showed me the very ginormous, very bare pair of cake breasts. There were no flowers. No extras. No glitter. No glam. Just a pair of big ones in all their glory. I think I even blushed a little as a family walked in behind me.
She put the lid on it with the sides exposing the sugary goodness contents. I had to request for tissue paper to cover the exposed areas.
Before I left with this cake, she asked me when I planned to serve it. Uh, I hadn’t thought this far. My parents were going to be coming over before we saw my daughter’s performance in Beauty and the Beast, Junior. Do I serve it in front of my kids? Do I send it home with my parents? What does one do with a boob cake? I mean, it’s a LOT of cake!
I thought that I’ll just figure it out later and began to walk out with this beautiful masterpiece.
I stepped out during high traffic time near the square. As I approached the corner, a group of teen boys were standing around. I hope they can’t see my cake.
I quickly got myself to my mom van with this heavy baked good. My arms were tired from carrying it. I called my husband and said “you ready to see the biggest boobs you’ve ever seen in your life?” I won’t tell you what he said in response. But it was a good one.
When I got home, everyone wanted to see. Even the neighbors came over to get a glimpse of it. Our major award.
A little while later, my parents came over. I had told my mom that we had a surprise for her. “Close your eyes!”
We placed the cake in front of her, declared, “open them!” We lifted the lid in a flash (pun intended), to which my mom covered her mouth and let out a gasp, no more like a shriek, that sounded a lot like my grandma (her mom) when she would be left in shock and awe. And my mom was certainly left in shock and awe.
Sweet victory. I did it. After all the pics, and the inappropriate comments from my dad, we dug in. That was an evening I’ll never forget.
Later, my mom had said that when she goes in for her surgery, that she would be thinking about that cake. Mission accomplished. I certainly made my mom laugh. And I hope I made her feel loved.
My mom went in for her surgery days later. It was successful. The cancer was contained. And my mom recovered beautifully. She went for her reconstructive surgery months later. She’s doing very well.
No one wants to hear the word cancer. And there’s something about being there for your mom when she has her breasts removed. It’s a strange, mixed feeling of sadness and grief for her and gratitude that it wasn’t worse.
I can’t say I’m thankful for cancer. But I’m thankful for how God uses these terrible things to bring beauty.
There’s beauty in a mastectomy. There’s beauty in being a cancer survivor. There’s beauty in resiliency. And there’s beauty in a mother, daughter relationship. I am thankful I got to witness her beauty in a way I hadn’t seen before.
There’s real beauty is seeing your mom’s strength. And overtime, her strength becomes your strength. Because the strength and beauty of healing doesn’t end with the survivor. No, that’s where it begins. Overtime, it grows and grows, transforming each person it touches, until it becomes a beautiful legacy.
Here’s to all the beautiful and strong survivors! We are all touched by your legacy!
Special thoughts to those that found their victory in Heaven. They are also beautiful and strong and leave their legacy of love.
A special thanks to Adam Wiltfang and his team at Designer Desserts in Valparaiso, IN. Also, located in Shererville, Designer Desserts creates beautifully designed cakes and cupcakes that are wonderful for any occasion or any day you need to indulge. They also create custom cupcake orders. This month they are selling Boo Bee cupcakes in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Thank you, Designer Desserts, for all you do for our community!