Saturday, April 30, 2011

What I Want the World to Know About ...

... Losing a parent to cancer.

This is post #3 in a series of guest blogger posts entitled, "What I want the World to Know About ____." Want to include a post of your own? Click here to find out how.

By: Susan R.

Susan R. is a wife, mother, and teacher from Foley, Alabama. She found my blog when she and
her husband started fertility treatments in 2005. She has been a follower ever since.

We all know the "C" word...cancer! I never thought that I would have to deal with that but boy was I wrong. I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when my dad called me and said my Mom had breast cancer. That is a day I will never forget.

My parents lived in Texas and I lived in Alabama. I knew when I got that call that my life would never be the same but I never could have realized how drastically it would change over the next 12 or so years.

I was close to my Mom before diagnosis but we became closer after diagnosis. I know that sounds bad, but it is true. Something like this will wake you up and make you realize what you have and what you don't want to lose. Being that I lived over 10 hours away from my parents, I knew my mom was sick. But even thought I was an adult, I felt like if I wasn't there and didn't see her go through what she did, then she didn't have cancer. I was like a child again.

Then one November, my dad called and said if you want to see your mom alive then you better come now. She was at Baylor University Medical Center in Texas and she had a bone marrow transplant. She made it through. While in the hospital, she got her breathing tube removed and that is a sight I will never forget. I had to leave the room because I couldn't stand seeing my mom go through the pain. Cancer, right then, became a reality for me! She eventually got to leave the hospital. I came back and we celebrated that Christmas together. This is one she didn't think she would be here for. Remission was a word I didn't think we would see but we did. Not for long. It was February 2002 and the cancer was back. It didn't look good this time. It was all over. I remember my boyfriend at the time (my husband now) had visited and my mom said she was going to the Dr. right after we left because she had a cough she couldn't get rid of. I told her it was probably nothing and just a cold. Well, I was wrong. The cancer had come back and it was in her lungs. A few months later my brother called me and wanted to take family pictures before my mom's hair fell out. Well, she had my dad shave her head before she lost her hair. She wore a wig in the pictures.

A few years passed and I got married. My mom was able to be at my wedding in 2003 which I was so happy for! The cancer was still there. My mom's lungs kept on filling with fluid and she had to have them drained every couple of months. I can't even imagine how painful that must have been but I never heard her complain once.

My husband and I wanted to start a family. We had to go through fertility and I was just praying we would get pregnant and have a child before my mom passed which we all knew was coming. Well, that didn't happen. We were going through all the visits to the fertility specialist and we got the call that we needed to come to Texas ASAP because they put my mom in the hospital.

I remember that date, July 17, 2006. I had talked to my Mom on July 15, 2006 and told her that we bought a new car. We were on the way to my in-laws and I told her I would call her back. I didn't and she went into the hospital 2 days later. We had to wait a week before we could go to Texas. We also decided to put all fertility treatments on hold. I couldn't deal with that too. We got to Texas on July 26 (my anniversary) and went straight to the hospital. My dad was there almost 24/7 but had to go home to check on the dog.

That was a sight I will never forget: My mom laying in the hospital bed with her oxygen. The last night we saw her alive, my brother and I put my cross necklace around her neck. My husband gave this to me when I was baptized in 2001. She was buried in this necklace. My mom died July 29, 2006. My husband and I were going back to Alabama and my dad called from the hospital before we left and said she stopped breathing.

The last sight I have of my mom is her laying in the coffin that I picked out. I remember telling my husband that she gave everything she had for us when we were little and I didn't want her buried in some plain coffin. I wanted my Mom to have the best because she gave us the best!!

I know I told you more than you probably wanted to know but there is something I want you to take from this. Don't take your loved ones for granted. Tell them that you love them. I made a comment to my mother-in-law the day before my mom went into the hospital. I told her "I don't know what I would do if I ever lost my mom." Little did I know, I would lost my mom 13 days later.

My mom knew the Lord (I also do too) and I know she is in a better place and not in pain anymore. I know she is watching out for me! My mom died in July and we got pregnant in Oct. through fertility treatments. I know my mom had a talk with God:) My daughter is named after my mom and we always talk about Grandma in Heaven.

P.S. I am participating in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure in Atlanta in October. I would appreciate it if you could visit my personal page and donate to this cause. You can even join my team!!! If you feel uncomfortable about donating online (it is a secure site and there is nothing to worry about), email me and I will tell you what to do. Here is the link.

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