This past May, my mother was diagnosed with Squamous Cell Carcinoma. They found a growth on her lung. It was "paralyzing" her vocal chord, which led to her not having a voice. She was having trouble breathing. She was tired. While going through "pre-radiation" testing, they found that it had spread to her collar bone and several locations in her brain.
She has since completed 3 weeks of radiation, 5 days a week. She has lost her hair. She is "wobbly". She is still tired. She now gets a few weeks of rest before she begins chemo.
I've learned a lot of things about myself, and the things that are surrounding me, since my mothers diagnosis.
It is possible to have 25 emotions all at once. I have cried. A lot. I have been angry. A lot. I've hated God, I've hated life, I've hated her doctors for not catching this sooner and fixing her while there was still more time. I've hated everyone, and every thing. I have felt sorry for myself. A lot. I have attacked those around me, and complete strangers. I have emotions, and I don't know how to deal with them. But I'm told this is "normal" post-diagnosis.
I've learned that people, and their drama, and their lies, are not going to be a part of my life anymore. I don't want it.
I've learned that there are people in my life that pull me down. People that no longer need to be a part of my life. And I've learned that since letting them go, I don't miss them. I feel a sense of relief.
I've learned that no matter how bad you think you have it, there is always someone with itty bitty problems that are going to try and compare to you, just so they can feel like they need more attention. It's not worth it.
I've learned that no matter how bad you think you have it, be thankful, because there actually ARE people who have it much worse than you do.
I've learned to cherish every single moment, of every single day, with your loved ones, even if it's just over the phone....because you don't know when it will be the last time. As cliche' as it is, it's the truth.
I've learned that I don't know how I will go through this life without my mother, and I don't think I should have to. I've become bitter at people that have perfectly healthy mothers, because it's not fair that they get theirs, and I don't get mine.
I've learned that there are things I will never understand. Why is my mother, a woman who has not done anything wrong, now given a death sentence, when so many people that don't deserve to be here live on, healthy and carefree?
I've learned that there are people in my life who care. Friends, family, and even an occasional stranger. I've learned that the people who deserve to be in my life have stood by me through this bizarre wave of emotions and reactions, and not judged, but simply just held me, in person, or over the phone.
I've learned that I am the luckiest person in the world, because I have the worlds most amazing mother. She is the strongest person I have ever met. Through all of this diagnosis, treatment, illness, vomiting, exhaustion, breathing trouble, hair loss....she has kept positive and fought on.
And I have learned that I am not the person I want my mom to know me as when her day comes. There are many things that I wanted to accomplish in my life, and they haven't been done yet. I don't know how much time I will have to make those things happen, to make my mom proud. But I do know that when something like this happens in your life, it is a giant wake up call. You learn a lot of things about yourself very quickly. The things you thought were important in your life, no longer are. You have an entirely new set of priorities, needs and desires.
And you learn what true love is. You learn what true compassion is. You learn what life, family and true friendship is, and you cherish it.