This is not something I talk about much because…emotional. I shaved my head recently and then saw a pic of my mom posted from a recent family get-together which prompted me to create this collage.
A bit over 10yrs ago, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had to have a partial mastectomy and suffer through months of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, hospitalization and hair loss. She fought…and won!! The cancer went into remission.
Unfortunately, about a year ago, my mom’s breast cancer returned. She had a medical incident that presented in symptoms that mirrored a stroke. I remember the call from my aunt (a nurse by trade) telling me that they were at the hospital (my dad and both of her sisters were with her). The breast cancer had come back and metastasized to her groin, abdomen and brain.
The cancer and the treatment have intensely changed my perspective of our relationship. My mother has always been strong, active, vital; she’s always been the caregiver. Seeing her weakened by the treatments, unable to eat and losing weight, unable to get up and move around unassisted has been difficult for me. I think it’s been particularly hard since we live in different parts of the state so I can’t be there everyday. Add to that, worrying about my dad who is older and not in the best of health and being unexpectedly thrust into a role as primary caregiver; it’s a lot for us all.
In the midst of it all, the picture of my mom didn’t make me think about all the changes in our lives, the treatments and the care. All I could think of is how much I love my mom’s face. I love all of the ways my face resembles hers. I think of all the lessons she’s given me to prepare me for life. I think of how much I love her and want her to feel as cared for and loved by others as she has made others feel; she deserves that.
The cancer is not gone but she’s on the mend. Treatments are done, tumors are shrinking and she’s regained some of her strength but she still has a long way to go to recovery but she’s here and I am thankful for everyday God blesses us with.