Mom said something to me that struck a chord. Her words hit me like a freight train headed west.
She was talking about the support group she attends every week and how there is this fourteen year breast cancer surviver who attends as well. I have heard her mention the surviver before this conversation but somehow its never really stuck out to me. It was words on page. A dinner time story about a woman who had survived cancer. But like a virus, her words began to seep into my system.
The woman survived BREAST cancer. Had to have both breasts removed, which means you also have to have your ovaries taken out. I recently learned this.
Apparently if you have breast cancer your are at a much greater risk of getting overran cancer. In other words, its better to be safe then sorry. Which is why they suggest taking both breasts, even if the lump is only in one.
The point is, a woman goes through all of this, being gutted like a deer, to prevent the cancer coming back. To be able too breathe easy. To know you are free and clear. Bye bye cancer.
I mean isn’t that what we all thought? You have breast cancer, you do what you need to do to survive it and then its over. Right? It’s only breast cancer after all… probably the only cancer that is “curable.”
The woman who had been a breast cancer surviver for the last fourteen years came back to support group because her cancer came back in her bones. In her BONES.
Bones and blood are two types of cancer that have the lowest survival rate. Could you even imagine? Going through all of that and then getting diagnosed again but this time with osteosarcoma. The sad part is that I am sure it happens all the time.
I sat at the kitchen table taking in the story, word for word. Tears dripping past her lips. I didn’t know what to do, so I hung on to every syllable. Because even before she was done with her story about the surviver I know what was troubling her. Then she said what I knew she would say but it still shook me.
She wiped her eyes and stated that no matter what the fear never leaves. She may survive breast cancer but what if the cancer comes back somewhere else? The lump grew in my throat. I wish I new what to say or how to act but I fell short.
Like Humpty Dumpty falling off the wall. And just like all the king’s horses and all the king’s men I cannot put my mother back together again.
I know we all say we shouldn’t live in a world of what if’s but sometimes its so hard not to. The fear eats at you so much that you have to wonder whether or not your sick with fear or with cancer.
My grandpa got really sick a couple years back and everyone thought that it was the end of the rope for him. My family was starting the process of grief when the miracle happened. He came through. It was almost like he wasn’t lost in the ICU for all those months. He was there with us again. Silently observing in the background drinking his beer.
Unfortunately, he died in his sleep a year later.
Don’t get me wrong we are all extremely grateful for the extra year we got with him. The year of goodbye. It was almost like he knew the end was coming because he made that year count. He was always a silent man and I never new him very well but that year he made a point to get to know me. My husband and I only were the last two people (aside from my grandma) to see him alive. I wanted David to meet my grandparents so I made arrangements for a Sunday lunch. That night he died. It was the only time David ever met him. Like I said a year for goodbyes.
I bring this up because, I don’t want another year with my mom or another fourteen years. I want a lifetime. I want her to live well into her nineties just like my great grandma. I can’t stand the thought of loosing my mom. She is my best friend and what we have is a rarity. My mom is an exceptional mother.
I don’t really think she will die but I also don’t want cancer to come back either. It makes me mad that so many people have lost their lives to such an awful sickness.
But what can you do? Live in fear or live your life? Celebrate what have or spend the time you do have worried about the possible loss?
I’ll continue to sit in the passengers seat and simply go along for the ride even though we are driving in the middle of a storm.
Even if the fear never leaves. Because as much as I don’t like it I have to trust that the Lord knows what he is doing.
I also want to say thank you to all of those who take the time to read my words and subscribe to my blog. I have been getting a lot of compliments, emails, and comments. So thank you from the bottom of my heart. Without you I don’t think I couldn’t make it through this season. Love you all!