In January of this year, my world was turned upside down. My mom told me that she had throat cancer. She was very calm and collected as she explained the diagnosis and treatment plan. Honestly, I wasn’t listening to any of it. As the tears streamed down my face, all I could think about was burying my mom. In both sides of my family, cancer has always been a death sentence. No one, I mean no one, has survived. She assured me that her chances of surviving this was high. After all, Michael Douglas managed to beat it!
Mom began daily radiation treatments and after a week or two, she seemed okay. At least until her first chemotherapy appointment. Within 24 hours, Mom’s energy level dropped dramatically. She began to look like a cancer patient. I will not lie, it scared me to death to see her so weak and pale. Then, a phone call at 5 am, from my sister jolted my mom’s sickness to a whole new level. My mom was worse than I had ever seen her. She was shaking with cold and unable to lift herself out of bed. She needed to go to the emergency room. I told her to wait and talk to her doctor at the 11:00 appointment. When the doctor saw her, they decided something was wrong and immediately admitted her to the hospital. I felt horrible. I should have known and brought her earlier, but I honestly thought her symptoms were normal for a cancer patient.
The hospital stay lasted longer than anyone had ever thought. Basically, the week before radiation treatments began, my mom had a port put in her neck in order to make it easier to administer the chemotherapy treatments. But, the port area became infected and had to be treated before she could start anything. Apparently, they didn’t get rid of all of the infection because it slowly spread and eventually permeated her blood stream. The blood infection almost killed her. While in the hospital, my mom had the port removed, had a blood transfusion, and a feeding tube put in. After being discharged from the hospital, about two weeks later, she didn’t have any more chemotherapy appointments. They decided to focus on radiation.
Mom never regained her energy or appetite, until well after all 8 weeks of radiation had been finished. She lost over 40 pounds and looked as if she had aged 25 years. It terrified me to think that this was only the beginning; that we would have to go through another round of treatments in a couple of months. Mom started perking up. She was getting out of the house and eating more and more each day. Mom looked like herself again – granted, skinnier, but still like the mom I knew. After two months of waiting, she finally had the test and it was determined that she was cancer-free!
I am so thankful for all the support and prayers. My family, my friends, my coworkers, my church…everyone was so helpful and understanding. My mom was prayed for by dozens of people and she was blessed by the meals provided. This was, by far, the most difficult thing I have ever gone through, but I never felt alone. I am amazed at the faith and strength of my mom. I am grateful for the all the wonderful people in my life that cared for all of us. But most of all, I am thankful to God for providing knowledge to the doctors and an everlasting peace in the midst of tremendous fear.