Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Appreciate Life, Family, Everything.

Cancer. It's the most evil 6 letter word on this planet, and a word that is much too real for me.

    The summer before grade 10 was amazing, unlike any other. It was a warm day on the beach that summer that would change my families life forever. “I have lung cancer.” When those words slipped through my mom's mouth, my first honest thought was great, guess we won't be spending all summer at the cottage. I have no idea why that selfish though was my first one, but what I do know is my brain just would not accept the fact that my mother was seriously sick. As the news started to sink in, so did the blame. I blamed God for putting this on such a committed member of the church, loving mother, and most amazing kindergarten teacher. I blamed my sister for her wild high school days that could only have put stress on my mothers body, I'm such I put some blame on my brothers and father, but I also blamed myself for not even noticing she was sick, or trying to comfort her when we found out the news.

    It was only 2 weeks after her diagnosis when it was determined that chimo and radiation were out of her time limit she had and that she needed to undergo a very high-risk, intense operation to remove the bottom half of her right lung. The next day she was prepped for the operation and ready to do in. All within 2 weeks. All without explanation. My mother had never smoked in her life or been exposed to any chemicals that typically trigger cancer in the lungs. My entire family was blindsided. My mom however never missed a beat! She was her usually over-cheerful self, stopping to chat with everyone at the store and spent her days on the boat and in the gardens. To this day I can't thank her enough for being so positive for the entire family. She was the sick one AND the one carrying the family through the hard time.

    August 11 2011, operation day. No doubt was this the hardest day of my life. My Mom was my life, my best friend. I couldn't imagine her going under that knife, with statistics against her. Harder to wrap my head around than that, saying goodbye that morning. No teenage should ever have to say their goodbyes to their mother or ever anticipate their death but with survival odds at 25%, there was no way I couldn't say goodbye. I couldn't get half the words out I wanted to say. Give her half the thanks she deserved. It was all too surreal. 2 weeks ago she healthy and happy go lucky, and today, well today she could be gone. She kissed me on the cheek and told me she was so proud of me and knew I would always continue to make her proud. That this wasn't goodbye because I would be seeing her again no matter what happened. She would always be there for me just like she always has been. Watching her walk away was so bitter-sweet. I wanted more than anything for her to feel no pain, to be healthy. But in a selfish way, I did not want the risk, I did not want to say that final goodbye.

    6 long hours later the operation was over, and we were beyond elated with the news. The operation was a success and she was 100% okay. The smile on the doctors face when he entered the waiting room was something I will never forget. Although I knew she had a long stay in the hospital and over a years worth of recovery, she was okay. She jokes around today saying “As if I had time to die, between 4-H, church, my class, and keeping you wackos in order I wouldn't have had the chance!” Which in some sense, in true.

    Through that period of my life I learned not to take one second for granted, and never take anyone for granted. My mother was one of the lucky ones, and I am forever thankful for that.

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