You Are Not Your Cancer
I like pictures.
I feel like they resonate so much power.
This is one of my all time favorite photos of my mom.
It was taken at her birthday party in May of 2010 and she had no idea she was being photographed.
I love this picture so much because it shows my mom in her purest, truest form.
She is delicate. Strong. Optimistic. Loving. Joyful.
She does not let her flaws rule her. She does not allow her cancer to define her.
She praises God for her weaknesses while others curse Him.
She holds being a wife and mother above all things and now, even in HER time of hardship, she continues to support her family with her strength and optimism.
Last Friday my mom began step one of the stem cell extraction process.
They put her Hickman Catheter in and gave her Cytoxan [a treatment for cancer]. They kept her overnight for monitoring and she came home late Saturday afternoon.
They do a surgery to place it inside of you and in her case, they also made a slight incision on her neck.
Fortunately, she currently feels no pain from this surgery.
On Sunday she began the next step, which is two shots of Neupogen daily, for the next week.
Today she was already feeling the effects.
She was very tired, nauseous, and weak.
Of course she did not present it to me that way.
When I got to her house to pick up my little brother for school she put her best foot forward, reassuring me that she was only tired because she didn’t sleep much the night before [for unrelated reasons she said] and that she was only a little nauseous and not bad at all overall.
My mom is the worst liar.
Still, I know it is sometimes better that I don’t say anything and let her think I believe her.
I don’t blame my mom.
It has to be tiring to have people always treating you like you’re sick and dying, even when you are feeling fine.
And her version of fine still may not be great, [which is why I notice it] but that doesn’t give me the right to treat her like a sick puppy.
People seem to forget that cancer patients are people too.
They have dreams, hopes, desires, and normal emotions just like we do.
My mom was always on the go her entire life.
She worked for a large corporation as a First V.P. and she couldn’t even go on vacation without getting work related phone calls.
She always worked overtime, commuted 2 hours each way every single day, and was known as one of the hardest workers in the company.
Then one day, it was all gone.
She went from not having enough time to having too much time.
There is something to be said about a person being left alone everyday with nothing but their dog and their cancer.
It weighs on you.
It forces you to acknowledge every single day, that you are sick.
When I say my mom is the strongest person I know it is because I mean it.
She cradles us all when we should be cradling her.
She checks my health when I should be checking hers.
Her worries are not for herself, but for us as her children and her family.
My mom is a person.
She is a woman.
She is a wife.
She is a mother.
She is a dreamer.
She is an optimist.
She is a cancer patient.
She is NOT her cancer.