“I have cancer.” Three little words I heard over nine years ago, but I still remember them as if they were said yesterday. My mother had dropped a bomb on me that forever changed my life. She had been diagnosed with stage three breast cancer, on January 9, 2007. That was the day that changed everything.
The past nine years of my life have been made up of moments of worry. Moments of crying during a wedding scene in a movie, because you don’t know if your mom will be there for yours. Moments of panic when you see your sister’s number calling, because you can’t help but think it’s “that call.” Moments of tearing up when you see your mother smile at a baby, because you think she will probably never get to meet her grandchildren. As a daughter, there are few things worse than watching your mother’s life be taken over by cancer. Until you realize it’s also taking over your’s, then it does get worse.
A year after my mother was first diagnosed, she had won her battle. Five years later it had made a return, and a big one at that. This time, it had spread to her pancreases and liver. Today, my mother has been battling her cancer for four years straight. Four years of chemotherapy almost every Thursday. Four years of me emailing her links, to what’s supposed to be the latest and greatest in holistic cancer fighters. Four years of me wondering if today is the day I lose my mom.
I can’t remember what it was like during the five years that my mom was cancer free. I can’t remember a single moment when in the back of my mind I wasn’t worrying about her. I will however say this, one thing that has kept both my mother and I going is faith. Over the past nine years of my life I like to think I’ve developed STRIPES of faith. There is one joy I have now, that really allowed those STRIPES to grow. That is the joy I get when I see my daughter smile at my mother. It’s a type of joy only a daughter of cancer would understand, because I believe that me and all of the other daughters of cancer out there are some of the bravest WARRIORS of them all. Whether you are 14 or 44, you will always need your mom.