Hopefully My Cancer Story Will Encourage You To Support The Relay For Life This Weekend
I think everybody has a story when it comes to cancer. Here's mine.For me, there's been quite a few in my family who have been affected by it.
My grandmother had breast cancer and recovered. She was never quite the same, but she was a fighter. She kicked and screamed til she was in her nineties.
My mother had ovarian, lung, and brain cancer in the span of a year. She didn't.
I spent half the day taking her to chemo appointments, doctor's appointments, physical therapy appointments, lunches, and other errands for about eight months of it. I had a baby monitor next to my bed so I could hear when she woke up in the morning. I'd come downstairs, sit with her a minute, and help her out of bed. I'd push her in the wheelchair to the living room, and every morning I'd give her a little kiss on the top of her head. She'd always giggle, because she'd lost her hair long ago. We'd do our daily routine where she'd ask if she could have a glass of tea - and I'd tell her she could, after she drank all of her tomato juice and ate her banana and took all of her pills. Dad would tend to her in the afternoons, and I'd come here.
I'd come to work and hate doing the 5:00 p.m. news, because there would be readings of obituaries. I'd always get a little flash of fright when we had to read one from someone who had died from cancer, particularly someone who died young - and to me, anyone who was Mom's age or close to it was too young. I'd try not to read those and give them to my partner instead. I much preferred to read the obituaries of a person who lived to a great old age, and read off the list of their big families and thousands of grandchildren.
But you know it doesn't always work out like that.
I'd get so annoyed to hear songs on the radio about people who had cancer. These people don't know what it's really like. They're just singing because they don't know what else to say. They can't possibly known how I feel. They can't possibly know how my family feels. They can't possibly know how MOM feels. This is just a scratch at the surface in a three minute song. They. Don't. Know.
Anyway, after a while she couldn't really walk anymore, and the doctor told us in January that she had six months. I was so angry. How dare he tell us she has an expiration date? And why is she somehow not worth fighting for anymore? It was unacceptable to me that we weren't going to do another surgery, another round of chemo, another set of sterroids, anything it took to keep my Mom here with us.
She made it to July. I remember it like it was yesterday. The hospice people came in for the morning check, and Dad woke me up to tell me the nurse had told him she was showing the signs. She thought Mom had about 24 hours. I got up, and got into the living room to sit with her. I read the paper and talked to her a little, telling her about the latest Sedalia headlines. Dad went to the kitchen to make breakfast. I was sitting there next to her when she just...... gave out. She'd had enough. I didn't blame her. She'd given me enough of everything she could for as long as she could. I couldn't ask anything else.
There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of her in some way. When I dream at night, she's always alive - even if I'm aware in the dream that she's really gone. I'm a person who believes that when you're gone, you're gone, and they live in your memory. I do alright in the day to day. Sometimes sadness comes to me, but I can remember something funny or silly she said or did and then it leaves.
It's really hard on my Dad and my sister. It's a little sad, because we can't talk about Mom without one or both of them crying. Even if it's a happy event, like my wedding, there are always tears because she's not there. And I get that. I don't begrudge them expressing themselves. We all do it differently. I wish she was here to meet my husband. I wish she was here to enjoy her grandchildren. I look at Delaney and Meagan and think, she would love these girls to pieces. But I like to focus on the positive, to remember the good, and live the now. I don't want to live in the past.
That's what the Relay for Life is about. It's about love. It's about honoring your lost loved ones in any way you see fit. It's about raising money and awareness to help fight the disease in all its forms. The Relay is having their kickoff celebration this weekend in Downtown Sedalia starting at noon. If you need more information, you can always click here.
Join me this weekend, where I'll be down there from 12-3 broadcasting live. It'll be a beautiful day, and a beautiful event. We'll remember together.