As many of you know it is October—Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
So, and write about my beloved grandmother, Jessie Mae Boudoin Keller. She is a 46 year breast cancer SURVIVOR!
Four years ago, Maw Maw's survival story was published in the family church newsletter published by Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church in Vacherie, Louisiana.
Contact me if you would like a digital copy. Here is an expert:
In 1962, not long after the birth of her tenth child, Mrs. Jessie discovered a bean-sized lump in her left breast, as she and her husband, Morris, dressed for a dinner party on a summer Saturday evening. "That was the longest weekend ever," Jessie said.
"I prayed to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Please let me live to raise my children. I knew my mom couldn't raise ten children. There was never any doubt in my mind. I knew the Sacred Heart would help me. There has never been anything I have asked of the Sacred Heart that has gone without answer. My prayer may not have been answered like I wanted, but it was answered."
"At that time," Mrs. Jessie says, "cancer surgery was not like it is today. I had to stay in the hospital for a good many days and I don't think that breast reconstruction was even an option. It was hard to be away from my children that long."
"But the old ladies in the neighborhood were good. My family was a good support. My twin sister, Marg, took Noreen who was just a baby, my sister and nieces took groceries to my family, and one sister came and sat with me in the hospital. But then I told her she had to go home to her own family."
Less than five years later during a routine visit to her doctor and follow-up testing, a lump was discovered in her right breast, resulting in another radical mastectomy.
Mrs. Jessie is proud to say that she raised all of her children in the church.
"When my kids were punished, I would put them on their knees and they had to say the Rosary loud enough so I could hear. That way they couldn’t fall asleep," she said with a chuckle.
"Now my family is my pride and joy."
Originally published in Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church Newsletter, October 16, 2011.