Monday, October 25, 2010

Cancer is a B*tch I'd like to slap

When I was 13 years old I was told my mom had breast cancer. It was the last day of 7th grade, I headed home happy and excited for summer vacation. Instead, I came home to find my mom and dad sitting with my brother in the living room. This was very unusual as my dad always worked during the week and my mom was never home before 5 pm. Here it was 12 pm and both my parents were home. They asked me to sit down with my brother and from there they told me my mom had cancer.

When I was much younger, I remember visiting my grandmother (my dad's mom) in the hospital. She had just had surgery to remove one of her breasts because her cancer was back. Later I found that my aunt, my dad's sister, had breast cancer as well. I didn't understand fully what it was. I was told that they were going to get better and the world would keep spinning.

When I was first told my mom had cancer the seriousness of the situation was unknown to me. My parents told us over and over again that after her surgery mom would be okay. At 13 I was still young and naive enough to believe my parents when they told me everything would be okay. 

I was 17 when I lost my grandmother (my mom's mother) to colon cancer. This time I was old enough to really grasp the situation. We drove to Louisiana for the funeral and getting ready that morning our hotel room was filled with sobs and tears. There was no more "everything will be okay." 

It wasn't until 2005 though when cancer came around and really slapped me in the face. It was a Tuesday, September 13th. I had broken up with my college boyfriend of 3 years just two days earlier. I was getting ready for class, it was about 5 pm. I put a Hot Pocket in the microwave for dinner and went upstairs to gather my things. My phone rang and it was my brother - my brother always seemed to call with bad news. I picked up the phone, dread already setting in my heart. "You need to come home now. Mom has cancer." I lost it. I broke down and started sobbing. All I could think about was that there was something evil inside my mother and it was killing her.  I ran down the stairs, threw my dinner in the trash and immediately went back upstairs, carelessly throwing whatever clothes I could find into a bag. I was out of the house and in my car on the way home less than 10 minutes after my brother called. It was the longest car ride home I've ever had. My mom had colon cancer, just like her mother before her. She had to have surgery and a colostomy bag for many months. She endured rounds of chemo and right before I was set to graduate from college she took her last treatment. My college graduation was a stepping stone in my life, but it also holds such a cherished memory in my heart. Both of my parents were there to see my graduate and my mother was in remission. It has been four years since that day and thankfully my mom is still in remission and the cancer is gone. I couldn't be more thankful.

But it didn't end there. Earlier this year my aunt's breast cancer came back. We learned last week that it had spread to her liver, lungs, pelvis and lymph nodes. She wasn't strong enough for chemo and when her liver failed a few days later, there was nothing the family could do except try to make her last days comfortable. The world will lose another amazing person to cancer.  

Cancer.  Such a dirty word. It rolls off my tongue and it leaves a horrid taste in my mouth. Sometimes it doesn't even give you a fighting chance, it sneaks up on you and there is nothing left to do. It fights unfair and it is unrelenting. I wish I could just get a hold of it and just beat it down. Slap it around a bit and let it know it can't take over our lives. But we are the weak ones. Given time, or for some, given no time, most of us will fail. So again I say, Cancer is one bitch I'd like to slap. It is the worst thing "God" could ever have created and pushed onto the human race because there really is no way to prevent it. He didn't give us all chance to fight back. And that's a bitch. 

I light a candle in honor of those cancer survivors and the ones we've lost. You will forever be in our hearts.
For my family ~~~Grandma Dalton - My amazing mother - Grandma Hay - Aunt Shirley~~~ <3

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