Allison Keller Battles Against Her Mom’s Breast Cancer Diagnosis

By Shana Carey

Co-Editor in Chief

About one in eight U.S. women develop invasive breast cancer affecting nearly every American family. When the doctor diagnosed Senior Allison Keller’s mom with breast cancer, she was in shock.

 “I always saw my mom as a very healthy and active person,” Keller said, “and could not comprehend how she out of all people would get cancer.”

Keller first heard her mom’s diagnosis of stage 1B breast cancer toward the end of eighth grade. Keller said that she was numb during this time because she felt helpless.

Allison Keller and her mother sit on a dock wearing pink. Allison and her mother have always been close with each other. When her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, Allison felt guilty but took a leadership role in her family.

 “It’s hard when someone you depended on all the time now depends on you,” Keller said. “So it was difficult juggling that change.”

Keller did not tell many people about the diagnosis because she was worried about their reactions. 

“I think for me it was difficult to confide in others because I didn’t want any pity,” Keller said, “so I kept it mainly to myself.”

This diagnosis was a shock for Keller because she always felt a strong connection with her mother. Whether it’s running or thrifting together, Keller and her mother are inseparable.

 “My mom and I are very close and always have been.” Keller said. “We share a lot of the same interests and are always together.”

After her mother’s diagnosis, Keller felt culpable that her mom was sick. According to Breastcancer.org, this is common in children with parents who have cancer. 

 “I felt very guilty that I wasn’t the one who was sick.” 

Helping her mother was a way for Allison to feel more competent and in control during her mother’s diagnosis. Allison and her father helped support her mother because she was very stressed. 

“My dad and I tried to be calm and caring for my mom,” Keller said.

Keller took on the role of a leader and helper as a way to get her mother in remission. Her father worried for the entire family during this time, and her mother also attended cancer support meetings to speak with people that were going through the same diagnosis. 

Helping her mom through a stressful time, Keller took a leadership role in her family. She helped around the house and finished some of the tasks that her mom usually did. 

“I had to make dinners and clean up, but I didn’t mind at all,” Keller said. “The medicine my mom had to take and radiation treatments made her very dizzy, lethargic, and fatigued, so I stepped up to help her.” 

When Allison heard the good news that her mother was in remission towards the end of her 9th grade year, she was ecstatic. 

“I felt complete relief,” Keller said, “It felt like a huge weight was taken off my shoulders.”

Keller said that her mother’s breast cancer was scary, but it ultimately brought her family together. She and her parents had to work together to get her mom to remission. 

“Nowadays I’m just happy that she’s okay and healthy,” Keller said. “We still have to be nervous after her yearly checkups and breast exams, but I feel like it’s brought us closer together as a family.”

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