My name is Ashley Mays and I am married to my best friend and we have two amazing little boys. I was diagnosed with Stage IIIB Triple Negative Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma (breast cancer) when our youngest was only 9-weeks-old. Since my diagnosis my goal is to reach out to other people walking through a similar journey. You can follow me on Instagram and TikTok @babiesandbreastcancer and Facebook at Babies and Breast Cancer.
One of my awesome friends and co-workers sent me a message yesterday saying this: "Your TikToks always make me laugh! I love how you have such a great sense of humor and you're able to make the best out of any situation thrown at you! Keep fightin! You got this!"
Honestly, it isn’t always like that. I spent many days after my diagnosis crying so hard I had a constant headache. I also have debilitating anxiety at times. After the initial shock wore off I was able to start talking about it without crying. I was able to crack jokes. I was able to make funny TikTok videos. A huge part of me being able to have a sense of humor comes from my hilarious 4-year-old son.
What have I learned from my 4-year-old? I have learned to not take life so seriously. And I have learned that sometimes it is OK to be brutally honest.
The day we received the life-changing phone call my husband and I were both crying and very upset. We decided that rather than hide this from our son, we needed to tell him. We sat our 4-year-old down almost immediately and explained to him that Mommy was very sick and the doctors were going to give Mommy medicine that would make her seem even sicker but it would actually make her better. The medicine would also make Mommy bald. We told him that he would probably have a babysitter two to three times a week because Mommy would be at the doctor or resting.
His response: "Mommy I am going to miss your hair. Will I know the people who babysit me?" Such a perfect Luke response! He is very confused why I still have hair. It is a topic of
conversation every time I go to the doctor.
A few days later his teachers brought us dinner and ice cream. My mother-in-law was over and she politely declined ice cream. She actually beat throat cancer when my husband was a teenager. The radiation made it hard for her to taste sugar. Luke was sitting across the table from me and said, "Mommy, you won't be able to eat sugar when you die." I literally almost choked on my food. But he isn't lying! Hahaha
Recently we woke up to our air conditioner not working. We called out a technician to look at it. My sweet Luke went up to the technician while he was looking back at our history to see if we needed to pay him or if it was covered under warranty. Luke said, “My Mommy has a sick boobie!” The technician looked so confused. Absolutely mortified I explained to him that Luke meant to say that I have breast cancer. Luke said, “Yeah! She has breast cancer.”
The technician decided that we did not need to pay and quickly left. Luke may have saved us $90 that day! Luke has taught me to enjoy every moment, laugh a lot, and to not take life
too seriously. Life is SO short.