The Student News Site of Shawnee Mission Northwest


The Student News Site of Shawnee Mission Northwest


The Student News Site of Shawnee Mission Northwest


The Battle

Three years ago my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer
Smiling, freshman Emma Wyckoff and her mom, Dene’t Wyckoff, hold a pink ribbon for Breast Cancer Awarness Oct 23 in Room 151. Photo By Claire Reed

In the fall of 2019, my mom constantly came home exhausted from work. Tired from the kids, as a school social worker, all she wanted to do was lie down in bed. She denied my dad’s attempts at long conversations and retreated to her room. She attempted to sleep more through the constant interruptions from my brothers or me. She’s normally tired after work, but this was different. She knew something was wrong. 

Three years ago, my mom was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer. 

Life had, for the most part, remained the same. My mom continued to go to work every day up until the surgery. She shared the news about her cancer with my school and her coworkers, so we had a lot of casserole options to choose from. Tons of parents from school offered to give my brothers and I rides home from school. 

I remember walking on the track at the Lenexa Rec Center with my dad. He told me how scared he was for my mom because her surgery was soon. 

He had this somber look on his face as he told me he was worried for his sweetheart. I kept walking and zoned out for a time, grasping only a few things he said. I didn’t really know what to say. 

I knew that the surgery was serious, that it was deadly. But the thought of her dying literally didn’t even cross my mind once. I wasn’t that worried about her.

It made me feel guilty. 

My dad’s worried sick for her, and here I was barely paying attention. Was I a bad person for that? A bad daughter? 

As the only girl in my family, my mom and I have always done everything together. I’d run straight to her when my brothers were tickling me. We’d go to McDonald’s and drive around, talking while drinking our Dr. Peppers. Still do. She’s the only one who will listen to me go on for hours about my troubles in friendships and boy drama. I love my mom. She’s my best friend. I don’t know what I’d do without her. 


On the day of her surgery, everything became real. I still had to go to my school that day and act like everything was fine. I was a fifth grader, so I played with my friends during recess like normal, probably swinging on the swing set or playing tag. My parents didn’t tell me when the surgery was during that day, so I pushed the whole thing out of my brain so I didn’t panic. I didn’t think about it at all. I couldn’t. I’m pretty sure I prayed the whole day. 

God would take care of her.

I got to see her in the hospital that evening. It was really dark there. The room was cold. One of my mom’s friends who already beat breast cancer gave her a “battle bag” for her stay in the hospital. 

And that’s all that cancer was for her. Just a battle that was overcome. 

My mom goes back to the doctor every six months for five years to get checked to see if the cancer has come back. It hasn’t. I don’t think it ever will. But if it ever did, I know she’d just beat it again. She’s a fighter, like me. 

My mom getting breast cancer was a wake up call. Before, cancer was something that I had heard about. It was like one of the scary monsters lurking under my bed. Now, it’s like I’ve seen that monster face-to-face and sent it running back to wherever it came from. And I don’t think it has the balls to come back for round two. 

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