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There are so many emotions that come with a heavy diagnosis. I learned this to be true when my mom was diagnosed with cancer.
She was only 43.
I felt like my life was over because I felt like her life was over.
My mind started to race. I started thinking about every possible outcome and what life would be like without her.
I worried that my daughter wouldn’t get to know her grandmother.
She was only 1 at the time my mom was diagnosed with Hodgkin disease, cancer of the lymph nodes.
Although she would spend a large part of her first couple of years on this planet in and out of hospitals, waiting rooms, and doctors’ offices, at such a young age, she didn’t know the weight of the situation that our family was going through.
I wasn’t the one diagnosed, but it hit me hard.
My mom is the strongest woman in the world, but could she fight cancer?
She was so sick and in so much pain. The thought of her fighting something as strong as cancer terrified me.
Of course, I didn’t share any of these emotions with her. I wanted to keep things as positive as possible even if I felt like everything was falling apart around me.
It wasn’t long after the initial diagnosis before she was having more tests than I could count and within a couple of weeks, she was headed for her first round of chemotherapy.
It made her really sick immediately, and it lasted for days at a time.
Sometimes she would barely recover from her last treatment before getting her next one.
It was hard to watch, so I know from watching, that it had to be hard to live through, even for the strongest woman in the world.
I tried to help in any way I could, cooking whatever foods she loved even though she didn’t have much of an appetite.
I would try to take her places when she felt up to it, but she really didn’t feel up to it.
I treated her extra special because I knew at any moment I could lose her.
That is when I learned an important lesson that has changed my life for the better.
We never know when our time is up, cancer diagnosis or not.
Anyone can die at any time.
We need to treat the ones we love like they can be ripped from our lives at any moment, because they can.
I was lucky to figure that out before my mom was taken from me; I was lucky to get to spend this time with her even if it was during the hardest part of both of our lives.
There were times when she wanted to give up on fighting, but she kept going in for her treatments, tests, and uncountable doctors’ visits.
They kept pumping her veins full of what seemed like poison and doing procedures where each seemed more painful than the last.
She eventually went into remission, which was a relief to hear, but unfortunately, it did not last long.
Her oncologist had told us many times that we needed to be prepared for the possibility that it could come back, and no matter how many times she warned us, we were not at all prepared when it did.
The new treatment plan will include heading to Chicago for a bone marrow transplant along with 3 other patients who share the same diagnosis and treatment plan as my mom.
Ultimately, only 1 of the 4 patients will make it through the procedure and get to know what remission feels like.
I will share more about our family’s journey through dealing with cancer and how it changed my life for the better in an upcoming post that you will not want to miss, stay tuned!
This is Living with Cancer™ is an initiative created by Pfizer that shows the real stories of people living with cancer. As part of This is Living with Cancer, Pfizer has launched LivingWith™, a free mobile app designed to help patients and caregivers manage life with cancer and organize important information in one place.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.