It was on January 1, 2012 that my mother’s life and my family’s life would change forever. My mom woke up with some bathroom issues to the point where she knew she needed to go to the hospital. I knew it had to be bad if my mom was going to the hospital, this lady never went to a doctor ever since I was born. I was 21-years-old and my mom was 47.
By the time I arrived my mom wasn’t there, I sat there crying alone. When she came back to the room I could see how unhealthy she looked. A nurse came to tell us they found masses on her ovaries and one in her rectum. My mom lost it and I was numb. Although, I knew I had to hold it in to be strong for her.
A few days later she had a doctors appointment for a biopsy. I could hear her whimpering, screaming, and crying in pain. It was determined she needed to be admitted to the hospital right away and perform surgery.
They removed her masses on her ovaries, gave her a hysterectomy, and a colostomy. The masses on the ovaries were determined to be non cancerous. She started aggressive chemotherapy, through a port in her chest and radiation daily.
Another day I’ll never forget was April 13th. I called 911 because my mom was throwing up black bile. Not very long after being in the emergency room we were told she had bowel perforation. My mom needed a miracle surgery to save her life. She made it through surgery, but was in a coma for a period of time.
They had to give her an ileostomy and remove a large portion of her intestines. She was in the hospital for almost four months because of an infection while being admitted. She wasn’t retaining any nutrients and was down to 90 pounds with a feeding tube. Somehow she survived that all. They told us several times she would not make it but she did.
She later had her surgery to remove the tumor, but she also needed reconstructive surgery. They had to cut into both of her legs with long deep incisions. She was in the hospital for almost four months. Initially, they told us she was “cured.”
It was only six months and the cancer was back. At this point they told us to get a second opinion. We went to Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia and Sloan Kettering in New York City. Both were exhausting, mentally and emotionally. It was determined mom would start the 24/7 chemotherapy again. Around six months later she was told she was “cured” again. This time we got to have about a year and a half without treatment.
Mom was weak and recovering most of the time. She was in excruciating pain since her first surgery in 2012. She got back to work part time, she strived so hard to get back to “normal” life. After about a year we had a follow up scan. The scan showed the cancer had spread and was in her sacrum. She needed a specialized radiation. She and my step dad were at the Hope Lodge for three months. They missed out on Thanksgiving and Christmas. In April of 2016 the cancer had spread throughout her body. She ended up with organ failure. At this point there was no longer hope for a “cure.” We were told she would start three different chemotherapies to sustain her life for as long as possible.
On January 21, 2017, my mom went to the hospital. She had an infection in her leg due to a bite from our cat. They told us she had sepsis and would need surgery and she might need her leg amputated. She was nearing the end stages of her life and was warned about the potential results of the surgery. My mom would never give up despite all the odds against her. She went into surgery and made it without having to do an amputation.
That night we received a call that her blood pressure was dangerously low and she would not make it through the night. My step dad and I went to see her. I told her how much I loved her and how proud I was of her.
She woke up and within hours she was hand writing us notes. By the next day we were told she needed the amputation. They told us she wasn’t likely to survive surgery but she did.
She soon was transferred to a regular room. Eventually, she was well enough to go to a nursing home for therapy. She went to the nursing home on February 20th. One week later, February 28 at 2:50 a.m. she took her last breath.
It’s my testimony and solemn promise to celebrate the memory of her every chance that I can. I will travel to the places she wanted to see. I want to embrace life and live it to the fullest. She battled her heart out for the past five years. When doctors told her she wouldn’t make it, she did. Even at the end my mom said she wouldn’t stop fighting until she couldn’t fight anymore. She was the strongest person I knew and the best mom anyone could have. She was my world and my best friend.
All I want in this life is to make sure she will always be proud of me. I’ll never stop talking to her. She is guiding me through the highs and lows and is my guardian angel. There has been so much outpouring of love and support. My mom inspired so many people with her strength and determination. I will keep her memory alive and keep sharing her story.
Thanks mom for being such a beautiful soul.Return To Faces Of Blue Learn More About Colon Cancer