March is my mother’s month

Did you know that March is colon cancer awareness month? Probably not. It’s not exactly common knowledge even though it kills more than 50,000 people every year, which makes it the second leading cause of cancer related death, behind only lung cancer. 

In fact, it’s almost the end of March, too late to be writing a colon cancer awareness month post. But I forget. Nobody reminded me. I didn’t see blue (colon cancer awareness color) everywhere. There weren’t commercials on the tv or radio. 

But there should be. It’s the second most prevalent type of cancer. I should hear so much about it, I’m sick by the end of March. 

Ok, so what? Why do you care? 

Valid question. I have a good answer. 10 years ago, my 41 year old mother was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer. 

For those who don’t know, Cancer has 4 stages. Stage 4 is the worst. There is no best when the word “cancer” is involved, but you have a pretty good chance with stage 1 and not much if it’s stage 4. Still, you never know if cancer is gonna be a tornado -tearing down things down it’s unpredictable but narrow path – or a tsunami -devastating everything, quickly and unexpectedly. 

Actually I don’t know if that’s true. I’m not an oncologist but it seems to me that, regardless of the diagnosis, cancer is unpredictable. 

I’m going around the world to tell a simple but emotional story. 

10 years ago, with irony befitting a book or movie, my mother was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in the middle of colon cancer awareness month. She’s been in remission for I guess 9 years now which is amazing. My mother is a fighter. She’s strong. Maybe because she’s strong or because she had so much to live for or because that’s what you do when you’re attacked. I don’t know. To be truthful, I don’t remember it well. I remember staying with a family friend the day my mom had half of her colon removed. I remember all the food people sent to help take care of us. I remember the metallic smell of her breath most vividly of all. I still hate the smell of my hands after holding change. The smell envelopes me in overwhelming fear and sadness. But I don’t really remember how I felt or what I thought or even understood. 

It’s also national women’s history month. I’ve been wanting to honor the ladies that impacted me and shown me what true strength is. No one has impacted and has more strength than my mom. She showed that the most when she had no strength and fought anyway. 

To all the cancer patients: keep fighting. No matter the odds. Don’t go down without a fight. 

To all the family members: life is hard. What you’re doing is one of the hardest things to face in life. You will make it. No matter what happens you’ll get past it. 

To my mom: thank you. Thank you so much for beating the odds. Thank you for teaching me how to deal with illness, attending my high school graduation, giving wisdom during my first heartbreak, dealing with meltdowns, and everything else you’ve done in the past ten years since cancer tried to kill you. I love you.

So go get colonoscopies and honor the women who’ve made a positive impact on you. 

Happy women’s history and colon cancer awareness month. 

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My Steadfast Hero- Colon Cancer Awareness Month

Cancer. One word. Six letters. How can such a small word pack such a large punch?

March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month. Here are some facts about it.

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer in the United States. (http://colon-cancer.emedtv.com/colon-cancer/colon-cancer-statistics.html).

It’s the third most common cancer in men and in women. (http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/colorectal/statistics/index.htm).

Of the thousands of people that get diagnosed every year, 4.4% are under 45 years old.

Last, nine years ago, my 41 year old mother was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer.

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(There’s a chance she’ll kill me for posting this picture but I think she’s super pretty and really cute too).

If there’s something scarier for a child than facing the death of a loved parent, then I was lucky enough to not experience it. In all honesty, a lot of that time period is hazy for me because I was so young. Only 11 years old. I can’t even write this without tearing up. I do know without a doubt that one of the worst things in the world is looking into the face of someone you love and seeing them hurt and knowing you can’t do anything about it. Even worse if you’re 11 years old and don’t really understand what’s going on.

So there we were. My formerly completely healthy young mother was diagnosed with a deadly disease that WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO EFFECT HER. But, if Kathy Giles is anything, she is steadfast. Looking back, I don’t remember feeling neglected or sensing any fear from my mom. She has a quiet and gentle spirit that fully trusts and has faith in God’s plan. She managed to continue homeschooling my little sister and I during her chemo treatments. She also still gave piano lessons.

My grandparents are two of the most stubborn people you will EVER meet. Though quiet, gentle and loving, my mother definitely inherited that stubbornness. She did not give up or quit living when she was diagnosed with Colon Cancer. She fought hard and made it through.

She is my hero, my best friend, my biggest fan, my harshest critic, my steadfast supporter and my inspiration. She knows pretty much everything about me and always encourages me. She is also probably the only person who reads every single blog I write. She cultivated my love of literature, the arts, Christ, old movies, musicals, and the list could go on and on. She has always encouraged me to pursue my dreams and go after stuff instead of sitting back and letting life happen to you. She has the will to make a way in everything. She also married a good man who is a great father who I wrote about here

Mama, (because I know you’ll read this even if no one else does), you are my hero and I thank you for always encouraging me. Thank you for fighting through cancer and showing me an alternative way to handle stress. Thank you for being my best friend. i love you. Image

OH! And did I mention she’s basically my twin from another era?