More than 1 month ago, my life changed forever in a way I never imagined. My 54-year-old awesome, outspoken, loving and beautiful mother was just diagnosed with cervical cancer – stage 3A. Now I look back to the days she was diagnosed and here are some of the things I already knew but didn’t fully realized ’til after her diagnosis.
1. Life goes on.
Hearing the devastating news from the oncologist (this word just send chills down my spine every single time), I was shocked, confused and angry. I went out of the hospital to try to process the news and I hated to see people walking the busy streets going on about their business. I hated that I saw people talking, laughing, continuing with their lives when I do not know just how to go about continuing in mine. I felt like the world had to stop – because hello, my mother has cervical cancer! She’s a great, awesome, loving, brave and responsible parent. She raised me on her own. She does not deserve this. It was unfair. It was quite the punch in the gut. It’s painful beyond words.
2. Time – it’s precious.
My mother’s cervical cancer is now on Stage 3A. I do not know how far long we’ve got – there are a lot of factors to consider before her oncologist would provide us with the information at what we’re looking at. But it was a wake-up call for me. It made me realize, as cliched as it may sound, that we are here today, and we’ll be gone tomorrow, so it’s best that we make the most of the time given to us – and what better way to spend it than to cherish the relationships we have with our loved-ones and friends and doing the things we love and are passionate about.
3. Hard times reveal true friends.
After I found out about her diagnosis and what the treatment plan would be like, all I can think about is cancer. My mind drifts away to some other thoughts, but I thought about them in a way that they are related to cancer. I’m an over thinker so it made my brain more restless than it already was. And despite my efforts to fake a smile and to try to keep it together – people noticed, especially those friends who knew me well. And it’s surprising – people and their reactions. But it helped me realize who the true ones are – and I’m thankful to them for making the pain a bit bearable.
4. Cancer is not a death sentence.
I can’t remember how many times I’ve gone online to check and see what other cancer patients – and their family’s stories are. It made me prepared. It set my expectations. It somehow made me feel inspired and blessed. It helped me see the “silver lining”. It helped me put things in perspective. It helped me become realistically positive. It made me feel that we’re not alone in this battle and while some battles do not end well, which is just the brutally honest truth, what matters most is how we fight every single day.
5. Death – it’s scary.
I was never the one afraid of dying. I never thought though about my mother’s death – or any loved-one dying for that matter. It’s a different thing when you know death is just around the corner, ready to strike at any time. Especially if the one to be stricken is your mother – your best friend and confidante. When I found out that she has the life-threatening disease, I was scared to the core (I still am though I try my best not to dwell on it).
I was scared of the doctors and the hospital, of the uncertain future, of the process that she has to go through, that I would not be strong enough for the both of us, that people I rely on will disappear along the way (some of them already did), of the fact that one day I will wake up and she may not be there anymore. It’s a nightmare I wish she, we didn’t have to go through. But we’re dealing with it and I have to say we are doing a great job so far – the fact that we’re able to survive each day.
There is no “normal” in this somehow dystopian world of Cancer Land. So I thank the friends who sent in financial support, who are praying constantly, who visited my mother, who comforted her with kind and encouraging words – it means the whole world to me. Your love, compassion and kindness make us stronger each day and I hope that you would not disappear one day although I would not hate you in case you did. I can see that this is going to be a journey for our family and as long as I am breathing I will make sure it will be one hell of a journey.