“When cancer hits home everything changes. Fear comes across your mind, you feel hopeless, and all you can think of is... HELP ME!"
~Isadora Lealofi-Tuufuli, 2 year breast cancer survivor
As I'm typing this, I am truly at a loss for words. How can I put into words the pain one feels when cancer suddenly hits home? When you find out your mother has cancer your entire world turns upside down. It feels like a kick in the stomach. The woman who gave me life is now fighting for her life. The moment I found out my mother had cancer, her health became my number one priority.
My mother fought cancer for only 6 months but it felt like 6 years. I'm not exaggerating. The mom who used to crack jokes and laugh with her kids all the time is now sick in bed and too weak to smile. My mother never fought this battle alone. She had her kids and her husband by her side every single day.
There were a lot of ups and downs when my mother was sick. Mostly downs. As a daughter and caregiver to my mom, it was hard for me to take it all in. I often had to fight the feeling of sadness and replace it with positive thoughts regardless of what the doctor would say.
I didn't want to show my mother any sign of misery or hopelessness because I didn't want to make her feel defeated. I knew I had to be emotionally, spiritually and physically strong for my mom even though I was really drained inside. It killed me to see my mom hooked up to monitors and sleeping on hospital beds but what caused the most pain inside is seeing my father watch the love of his life fight cancer.
I witnessed my father's love for my mother grow stronger each day. He took days off from work to be by my mom's side when she was scheduled to have surgery, he waited countless hours for my mom to recover and he would also buy the little things she requested. I remember my dad going to Ross to buy my mom some nice dresses to wear so she can feel pretty. My father is the one who kept my family strong and I am so blessed to have a great dad.
After going in and out of the hospital for 6 months it felt like a second home and that is not a good thing. The hospital is a depressing place to be in but I had no choice. If I wasn't at school or work, I was in the hospital right next to my mom. My mom's nurses became family. They knew my name and what I was up to in life. I will never forget the friendly faces in the hospital, as well as the exhausted and the worrisome.
Seeing my mom fight for her life opened up my eyes to so many things. I realized that anything can happen to your loved ones at any given moment. It is during these moments when you learn not to take the little things for granted. I remember every single person that went out of their way to visit my mother at the hospital and I appreciate their love and support during a time when it was really needed. I also appreciate all the endless thoughts and prayers from families who lived afar.
To be honest, I didn't even want to blog about my mother's breast cancer journey because I don't like to think of tragic events. I don't like to cry. I don't like pity parties. Before writing this blog, I thought a lot about whether or not I should publish it and I came to the conclusion that if God allowed my family to go through a season of hurt and He helped us to overcome it - it would be selfish of me to hold this story to myself. By sharing a little piece of my mother's story, my hope is that it will remind you how precious your life is and how GREAT God's love is.