My mother's fight against cancer.
I am twenty five years old. I lost my mother on March 15, 2013 to Stage IV gastric cancer. She was 53 years old. The loss I am experiencing is deeper than any feeling I have endured. While coping with the daily reminders of my mother, I am struggling to find acceptance in the way that this terrible disease weakened and destroyed such a strong and wonderful woman. About a year ago we started taking a fitness class together. It was so nice to see my mom 3x a week and work out together. In June she started complaining that she was getting tired more easily and she couldn't understand why. I told her it was probably what she was eating and didn't think anything of it. When she started to lose weight we thought she had finally overcome the obstacle of thyroid regulation and begun to see results from the fitness class. When I learned in July that she was getting additional tests after a doctor diagnosed gastritis I was worried. But I had no idea that she would be diagnosed with late stage cancer on the 13th. I felt totally deflated. She said it was like someone pulled the carpet out from under her. I was with my mother and father through every subsequent doctors appointment, chemo treatment, and medical consultation. She battled hard against this disease and against the effects of three different chemos. The final regime of chemotherapy put her in the hospital for 5 days due to dehydration. She had lost so much weight and struggled to walk. I stayed by her side almost all day- only breaking to catch a bus to work or to go home and sleep. When she was released from the hospital we met with the oncologist once more who talked to us about hospice care. The nurses all hugged me and squeezed my hand behind my mother as my dad pushed her out in a wheelchair- but I still had no idea how to comprehend that this was real. My mother struggled hard for another few weeks. The day we called in home hospice care, she was reluctant to use the hospital bed and was very visibly upset. But I stayed with her until late that night and told her I loved her before she left. The next day my dad was calling me to tell me to meet him at the emergency hospice. Within an hour we were in the room with my mother watching her last breaths. She told us she was okay and that she loved us. But I cannot get those last breaths out of my head. She struggled for every gasp. My heart breaks every day. I beg every day for my mother to come to me in a dream, or in some form. There are times that I am convinced that she is with me, and other times I am crushed by the weight of grief. I am getting married to my long time boyfriend in June. Although she helped me to plan every detail and even made arrangements up to the day before she passed I am not sure how I am going to get through this time in my life. The day of my mother's funeral- her brother also suffered a fatal heart attack- so I know this time is going to be especially dark for my entire family. Work and my daily life seems so stupid and unimportant. All my days as a caretaker at least held meaning. I'm also struggling to support my father who had been married to this beautiful woman for 32 years and my 17 year old sister who is racked with anger for what has happened to her, to her mother, to our family. The days feel so dark that I struggle to breathe. I wish this on no one and I pray that my mother is watching out for me and will help me to get through the days without her.