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On Wednesday, August 13, late afternoon I had a missed call on my phone. I had just come out of a meeting. It was my mom. I phoned back, expecting that the call would be to arrange something for her birthday, which is two days later. “Hallo mommy, how are you”? Not good comes the reply. My mom never answers a question like this. I can hear the tears are welling up, her throat is closing up. Did someone die? Did she put my 14-year old dog to sleep? Is my dad okay?

I have cancer. 

Just writing those three words still feels so surreal. My head goes empty, I feel woozy. No, not cancer. Anything but cancer. I fucking hate cancer. This cannot be happening to MY mother, this should not be happening. I didn’t need to ask what sort it was, mom just said I found a lump. My whole world fell apart.

Stay cool, stay calm, stay collected I tell myself while on the phone. For my mom’s sake. But as the news sinks in, it hits me hard, I am winded. I broke down. I am lucky that we have a sound studio in our office. I used it as a safeplace to let out all the anger and sadness. “Phone your mother,” I text my brother. Why, he replies. “Just phone her,” I answer.

Half an hour later he phones. Are you okay, he says. I nod, knowing full well that he cannot see my nod, but I think he knew I was nodding, too heartbroken to speak. “Don’t worry, this is not a death sentence. People beat cancer all the time.” That’s what you think, I think. I know what cancer does to people, I witnessed it with my own eyes. I cannot go through this again, not with my own mother.

Saturday. I saw my mom for the first time since the news. She looks radiant, positive, whereas I am walking with a black cloud above my head, no silver lining. (How do you write about a parent who has cancer and its effects on the people in the wake of this news without seeming utterly selfish and egocentric? I’m not the one with cancer, I’m not the one who has to undergo treatment or who has to get an operation, but it hurts like hell, it kills and eats you inside, steals your joy.) “Don’t cry. This will all be over soon,” mom says while she envelops me in a hug.

She has her operation to have the lump removed two weeks later. In solidarity, I put pink streaks in my hair as opposed to shaving it off, something I had done at the age of 21, when my aunt was diagnosed with cancer. Even after the procedure, she was positive, she was healthy and she looked good. I had to go overseas. On my return, little foxes started appearing, with their bushy tails on fire and setting alight to the meadow of positivity my mom found herself in.

Smoke was starting to cloud her vision, just like the dark cloud was already blanketing my thoughts for weeks. Mom recounted stories of how people noticed that she was missing a breast. How the woman in her regular grocer would stare at her – why do people do this? Why do they stare at people who look a little different? My sister-in-law confirmed that, even though my mom says she’s fine, she really was not fine. “She never leaves the house, even when I ask her to come somewhere with me,” she says. I’m fine, mom retorts.

Her first session of chemotheraphy was on a Friday, I take leave from work to be with her and support her through this poisonous hell that has to be willingly injected into her body. Soon she comes out, much sooner than we expected, tears welling in her eyes. “I can’t have chemo today, I have an infection. I just want this to be over with, I just want this to end.” Her next session is to start in two weeks time, to give the infection from the operation a chance to clear up. The doctor won’t risk giving chemo at the same time. Gone is the positive and strong mom I saw earlier. Now reality kicks in.

Fast forward to November 6. Mom has been admitted to hospital and discharged a week later. The chemo did not sit well with her, she wants to quit it. We were also in an attempted mugging and there was a fatal hijacking in our area. It all builds up.

Dad might have cancer.

In this minute, I did not even have the energy to cry. I knew it would come out sometime, but I just didn’t have the energy.

I knew there was a lesson to be learnt here somewhere, but I would just like to stop being tested for a day or two. I would like to breathe and not worry about anything. My head just kept on spinning.

By December, my mom had gone through, and thank God survived, another serious stint in hospital. There were talks of blood transfusions and some scary medicines. And then the doctor told my mom that he would not continue with chemotherapy as it will kill her before the cancer does. If the cancer did.

It was a four-month wait, but this week my mom went back to the doctor’s office and she was clean! There was no trace of cancer in her body. And I have to say that even though she lost some of her hair and shaved her head before everything could fall out, I have never seen anyone look more fabulous with a pixie cut than my mom.

I praise God for healing her, because it was only through His grace and love that she is now stronger, sexier and healthier than ever. To God be all the glory!

 {Image from this Etsy Shop}

6 Responses to “I don’t know how to title this post”

  1. Sue

    Oh my gosh! I had no idea… So absolutely thrilled that your mom is OK though, wow!! How is your dad??

    My dad also has cancer – he was diagnosed in 1997 with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia and had a bone marrow transplant in 1998. He was clear for a long time after that, but it’s slowly crept back and he’s had to have top ups on his transplant. He’s reached the limit on that now and the cancer is still in his blood. He’s on life sustaining meds that cost R30K a month (R1000 a day!)!! Thankfully medical aid pays. If he stops taking them, his cancer jumps from chronic to acute and that’s the fast growing kind. It’s not nice knowing that it’s there, but we also just keep saying our prayers that he’ll be OK. He’s 64 this year, so he knows he’s already been lucky.

    Sending lots of love,
    Sue XXX

    Reply
  2. Caley-Jade Rosenberg

    Sending you love and prayers my friend. And praise our Lord that your Mom is doing so well. There is never anything or enough to say to help you through these times but you are on my mind and in my prayers x

    Reply
  3. femmegypsy

    Just sending love and so grateful and happy for your mom’s clean results this week! Health scares and lumps and tumours (even benign ones) put a lot of things in perspective. X

    Reply
  4. Kerry

    What a heartbreaking but beautiful post. I am so glad that your mom is okay!
    I cannot imagine the feelings you must have had, I broke down when my mom ended up in hospital for her appendix so I really cannot imagine the fear and pain you experienced.
    God bless you and your family Megan

    Reply
  5. Mrs FF

    OMW I’m in tears! Of sadness and JOY!!! God works in mysterious ways and nothing is impossible with him! Sending you lots of hugs and strength

    How’s your dad?

    Reply

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