“Still, to this day, I don’t think we would have that bond had I not almost lost her. Because there’s a difference when you love somebody and they’re there all the time and when you think you might lose them.” –Logan Ashley
Deviney Luchsinger/Multimedia Specialist
Mother, daughter strengthen bond through breast cancer
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma — Logan Ashley, citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, is a barber at Sun N Scissors salon, and found her passion in life through one of the most painful events she could imagine.
It was December 2009 and Christmas was just around the corner. Logan was 9- years-old and a fourth grade student at Henryetta Elementary School. She was just a normal kid living a monotonous, small town life.
On that day, her mother Glenda, her person and her best friend, sat her down to talk to her. Glenda’s face was pale, and she had an uneasiness to her voice. Logan knew something was not right. That is when the bomb dropped that changed her life.
Her mother was diagnosed with HER2 stage 3B breast cancer.
Logan had no idea what this meant. Glenda explained that the cells in your body can sometimes mutate and start to attack you, and that she might become bald and that she might have to go through surgeries. She was sick and she was going to get sicker.
“After learning what it was going to do, and how bad it was, it was terrifying,” Logan said.
Glenda’s treatments were brutal. She was administered a type chemotherapy aptly nicknamed, “the red devil” for its red color and its harsh side effects. The side effects included nausea, lack of appetite, vomiting, fatigue, anemia and loss of hair.
Glenda decided she wanted to spend every minute with her daughter. Sometimes, she would pull Logan out of school for the day to go to her chemo treatments. Even though no one is supposed to go back with the patient while treatment is being administered, they would sneak her in with the help of a nurse.
Logan treasures those memories. She remembers sitting with her mother, coloring and talking for hours at a time.
“Still to this day, I don’t think we would have that bond had I not almost lost her. Because there’s a difference when you love somebody and they’re there all the time and when you think you might lose them,” Logan said.
Being around other kids was hard for Logan. Most of them could not wrap their heads around her mother’s illness, and others teased her for having a bald mom.
But thankfully, they had a support system of friends and family who stepped up and offered support and help in caring for Logan.
“If it wasn’t for my friends and their parents, I don’t know what I would have done,” she said.
One cold day as Logan was jumping outside on the trampoline, her mother called her inside.
Her mother greeted her with a pair of scissors and some clippers.
She asked Logan to shave off all of her hair. Logan did not understand why until her mother ran her fingers though her hair and a large clump fell out her hands.
She happily started snipping away. She fell in love with the way the scissors felt snipping through the hair and the way the clippers buzzed in her hand. She had found her calling.
When she finished, all that was left of her mom’s long, thick curly hair was some stubble that would fall off on her pillow later that night.
It did not hit Logan until a few weeks later when she looked at her mom and did not see her mom anymore. Her mom had beautiful cascades of brown hair that she always wore long. This woman did not look like the mom she was used to seeing.
Glenda tried her best not to let her sickness get in the way of her life. She would wake up every morning, draw on her eyebrows, run errands and attend almost all of Logan’s school events.
Although Logan felt sad at first, her mother’s strength and dignity was empowering.
“She showed me positivity. It made me feel anyone can be beautiful no matter how you look,” Logan said.
The time came to have the tough conversation. Glenda’s cancer was aggressive with little sign of getting better. She sat Logan down and explained she might not get better and asked, “if something happens, who do you want to live with?”
Six months after that conversation, after seemingly endless rounds of chemo, mastectomies and radiation, her mother she was officially cancer free. They were elated.
With that talk running though her head, all Logan thought was, “I get to keep my mom.”
Glenda has been in remission for 11 years now, and every year they celebrate at the American Cancer Society’s annual Relay for Life.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Logan wants to encourage both men and women to make sure they do monthly self-breast exams and to not skip your mammograms.