Diagnosis by Casey Brown

Casey with his band "Mother Function"

It wasn’t long ago (almost a year now) that my life made a drastic change. It wasn’t because of something I did; rather, it was something that happened. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She dropped the news rather well, informing the immediate family at a sit down. My mom, laughing as she told the story, about how suddenly the nurse’s face turned from that of business as usual to an overzealous smile, “How are you today Deanne?  Please sit down.  Are you comfortable?  Can I get you anything?”  Of course, the nurse was trying to pretend everything was ok, smiling to comfort my mom I suppose.  My mom said at that moment, she knew.  Anyhow, it wasn’t the news that hit me hard; we had been prepared for it upon discovery of the lump. It was how my brother and I reacted.

How is one supposed to take the news of your mother’s cancer? He and I went about our dinner, listened, and didn’t say much. We didn’t pretend that we didn’t hear it, we just didn’t respond to the news in a way some people would (OMG, gasp, tears, you know). I definitely know that I didn’t freak out in any way.  I can’t speak for my brother.  I wouldn’t know how he took it.  He certainly did not betray any feelings that he may have had.

But what about me and my reaction?  Why didn’t I find myself laden with fear?  Is that normal? Am I just a sociopath of modern society?  Maybe I’m just greatly desensitized with the rest of my peers.  Considering the way we are raised today; a generation raised on TV, movies, video games, etc… Could that have an effect on my reaction to the news?

It is now that I am finally processing all of this.  One year later.  The idea that desensitization is the cause of my near indifferent reaction is hard for me to take.  I can be a sensitive person, I think… but after hearing the news of my mother’s cancer, life continued on as before, with the exception of a change to even healthier foods, which in my personal opinion are rather bland. Thank god for fast food.

My mother’s cancer definitely affected the family in many ways. Money was tight and the world was collapsing around our shoulders.  Though, I continued to act the same way in my house.  I kept a same smile on my face, like everything was fine.  Hell, life was actually not so bad for me at the time.  I was doing well in school, chilling out with friends on a regular basis, and going to the beach.  Not often did my mind cross the fact that my mom was fighting a battle with cancer, except the occasional, “your mother had chemo today, she can’t drive you anywhere” which was fine, I understood, I understand.  I could stay home and play video games anyway.

My mom bought me an “I love boobies” bracelet, which I haven’t removed since. That was the one way I would express the entire ordeal, through the shaved head, chemo, herceptin, etc… A symbol to bright the fade that is my reaction to what was my mother’s cancer. That’s quite the mouthful.

Back to my question, why do I act that way?  I actually see the bigger picture.  It’s broader to me now than just a single event in life.  Nothing has happened to me that caused me to not worry about things.  For instance, at the moment I write this I’m putting off my math homework and I should probably be studying for a world history exam. But again, I don’t worry about my grade in math; I could skip homework for a week, even pretend the week never happened. Though that may seem too small an example compared to breast cancer, it is a look at the way I do things.  I can’t say it’s “looking the other way” because I’m quite aware of the consequences if I don’t do my math homework for a week.  I just am indifferent to the consequences of those actions.  Much like the way I reacted to the breast cancer ordeal.  It’s another bump in the road of life, another branch on a tree, branches which can fall or be changed and twisted, but there’s still the trunk holding it up.  So, math might not be my thing, a twisted branch protruding from the trunk, but there’s plenty of other room to grow instead of numbers.

My reaction to my mother’s breast cancer diagnosis and the way I acted this year may be based on the fact that I live life to its fullest no matter what small road bump (or a cancerous lump, for that matter) rises in my way.  Maybe it’s indifference and insensitivity.  I don’t know.   It’s just a reaction, a natural process, even a chemical process to look at it scientifically.   So, take my reaction to my mother’s breast cancer, it wasn’t that I wasn’t afraid for her, or for my family’s way of life.  It’s that I knew life goes on, stuff happens you can’t control.  Roll with the punches and see what happens.

Casey being Casey


4 Responses to “Diagnosis by Casey Brown”

  1. Raundi Says:

    Thank you for sharing this. Casey is so very wise and what a kick-ass writer!

  2. Asia Says:

    Great post Casey. It’s really interesting to hear (read) your perspective.

  3. Mom Says:

    I don’t even know what to say. All I can say right now is that the tears are rolling down my face – for you – for Mom – for the family- and especially for you Casey and your writing! We are a strong, loving family and the fact that you didn’t react in a negative way is because you knew – absolutely knew- that everything would be OK!!! Maybe that’s how I feel – I knew and know that Cancer cannot take away my daughter – your mother or Kevin’s love. You are so amazing Casey, so full of love and compassion – and so full of IT! I adore you soooooooo much.

  4. Angela Says:

    I am so touched! Thank you for sharing Casey <3

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