Me and Mom a few months before breast cancer took her...the second time she shaved her hear...
Okay everyone. Its that time of year again. Well, it?s 243 days away from that time of year. What time, you ask? The 3 day Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer walk of course. And while that sounds like some extra time to fundraise, it?s really not that much time at all. And because of the time constraint, I need your help.
I know many of you helped me out last year, and for that, I thank you. However, we are in the middle of a battle here, against a silent killer. Breast cancer kills millions of women AND MEN every year, and it hits closer and closer to home. And while people say time heals everything, and there are some things for which that may be true, this is one thing that won?t just go away with time. Everyone needs to help. If you?re wondering why I?m still fighting for a cure, I?ll tell you why.
Breast cancer killed my mother last year. Yes, my mother is already gone, as this horrendous disease intended. Yes, my world was already ripped apart. Yes, I should be trying to just put my life back together. But what you may not know is what happens after the death of someone you love when they are taken by cancer. It?s been six months since my mom died, and everyone is starting to move on with their lives. We recently got her new headstone. It?s beautiful just like she was. My brothers are doing great in their lives. Andrew was named EMT of the year at his job last year. Chris is trying for promotions at his job. Dad and I have started to sort through Mom?s belongings and get rid of what needs to be removed (portable toilet, ugh!) My Aunt Rita recently started going back to church. My cousin Sammi had a beautiful baby boy. Unfortunately that is all anyone sees, that we are all doing okay, and that stops them from seeing the truth.
We are all doing the best we can, but we are NOT okay. Time doesn?t heal everything. When I?m in the shower I cry a lot. Andrew lost his nerve the day he got awarded EMT of the year and cried like a child because Mom wasn?t around to see him get it. Aunt Rita stood outside the church a few times without being able to go in because it was something very important to Mom. Dad visits Mom?s grave every week and puts roses on it. Aunt Margie used to have phone calls with Mom almost every day, and now she just says ?I miss my person? a lot. We still have plans for Mom?s 50th birthday, even though she?s gone, because we just can?t not go to Sesame Place for her 50th birthday like she wanted. I still have nightmares about her dying at least once a week. Sammi, Aunt Margie, Mom, a couple cousins and I were supposed to have a girl?s trip to Boston this year as a giant birthday party for all of us. The dog has become very codependent, or at least much more so than she was before Mom died. I had a conversation with someone today in which we agreed that I actually had it EASIER seeing her die slowly, because when it came I was more ready than anyone else. And that knowledge sucks. I don?t know how to help my family, because I barely know how to live my own life without Mom. I know I said it before, but TIME DOES NOT HEAL EVERYTHING, and it certainly won?t heal this wound. And that is why I?m still fighting.
We can?t stop fighting until a cure is found. No family should ever have to watch their loved one die. No woman should ever go through it. I know I?ve told many of you the facts of Mom?s death before, but for the sake of fundraising (Yes, I?m guilt tripping you a little by doing this!), I?ll tell you again. She was diagnosed in October 2010. Stage IV immediately, with cancer in almost every organ in her body immediately, including some of her bones. We should?ve lost her by Christmas of that same year. Mom was a fighter who wasn?t ready to die though, and she smiled through the pain. She was told not to walk or lift anything, including herself, immediately upon diagnosis, as the cancer was too severe. My brothers and Dad and I had to lift her onto a portable toilet that was next to her bed whenever she had to go the bathroom. We had to clean her bowel movements and urine out of a bucket whenever she went. Mom had her dignity stripped not only in having her hair fall out, but having to have her two grown sons stand next to her while she went to the bathroom because she was too physically weak to move herself. Puck, who is MOM?S dog at heart, wasn?t allowed anywhere near Mom at risk of hurting her. Mom was transferred back and forth between hospitals and doctors appointments on a stretcher. She had to learn to walk all over again just like a child. She slowly worked her way to semi-healthy again, and joined a group of amazing breast cancer survivor women dragon-boat team. Mom shocked her doctors with how well she was doing. And after almost two years of fighting, Mom thought she was actually going to live a long time, but the doctors told her the cancer had spread to her brain. Nine more lesions, 2 of which were on her cerebellum, and 1 of those was pressing against her brain stem. She was taken out of races because it was too dangerous. Mom couldn?t drive because she was at risk of seizures. Mom slowly lost the ability to walk, and even the willpower to talk. She lost energy to eat more than a jello cup size of food every few hours. And then came the night where she died. Mom said she felt strange. Chris and I were both at a bar, and Andrew was at work. We all rushed home to go with Dad while he rushed her to the hospital, along with Mom?s sister Rita. Mom just kept telling me something in her side hurt. So I let her squeeze my hand when it hurt. We went home to get some sleep, except for Dad, and when I went back the next morning with Aunt Margie, I was rushed up to the room by a mysterious text Aunt Rita had sent to Aunt Margie. I walked in to find a family friend, Dad, and Aunt Rita standing by a wall crying while at least 20 or so hospital workers and doctors tried to bring Mom back from having a heart attack. She ended up having 3, and we made the all-too horrible decision to let her go. When I went to say good bye to her, she had blood on her still, her eyes were glassy, and her skin was yellow. My brothers barely could speak that day.
My friends, boyfriend and family have helped me through most of this. There are still awful nightmares where I relive her death, or worse, dream that she didn?t die, only to wake up and remember that she?s gone. But having them here almost makes it worse because now every time I turn around I look at my friends and see targets for cancer. And that scares the ever living hell out of me. Nobody should go through that, and I am determined to make sure nobody else I care about does, or witnesses it. And that is where, yet again, you come in. Think about the people in your life. Your mother, sister, daughter, niece. Or your dad, brother, son, nephew. Yeah that?s right, men can get breast cancer too! Imagine if you had to watch them die slowly from breast cancer, or if they had to watch you die slowly, over the course of 2 years. Now open your eyes. Relax, you?re not sick, and neither are they. But it could happen if you don?t help find a cure. And you don?t even have to do much, just pull out your wallet! Just donate to my fundraising goal here. You could also join our team if you want to. XTU Xtra Mile. But please, help us by doing SOMETHING. If you knew my Mom, do it for her! Thank you!