I always used to see those donation cans in the stores and gas stations about someone with a serious illness. I would look at it, read a bit about it, and donate the change I would recieve from the cashier after I made a purchase. I had always done that. Always felt something inside for the person mentioned on the can and their families. But I never expected that the next can I would see would have my mother's name on it. My best friend in the whole wide world, the person who served as both parents while I was growing up, my mama, was diagnosed with leukemia (blood cancer) a week before my 16th birthday. That was three weeks ago. Her illness went from pre-cancerous to cancerous almost immediatly and got very bad very quickly. A week after she found out (and two days after my birthday, the day before my big brother's birthday), she was sent to Siteman Cancer Center for treatment. There, she was put under heavy sedation and put on 100% oxygen with a respirator. She had double pneumonia. And she soon developed a gneumothorax (a hole in lung) causing her lung to collapse. They called all the family up to the hospital. They didn't give her a very good survival rate. The fear of losing my mother was rattling my brain, but I stayed strong. I had to. I was POA (power of attourney) over my mother. The three kids (myself and my two brothers) had POA. But, my younger brother is only 11. And my older brother, having just turned 20, couldn't yet take responsibilty. He was in Japan serving in the Navy. That left me, a 16 year old girl, to take charge of my mother, and deal with her eight brothers and two sisters. I had my Aunt Pat helping me along the way. Without her, I wouldn't have been able to deal with some of the other siblings' **** (particularly my Aunt Kay and Uncle Gary). Not only did I have to deal with them, I had to become even more of an adult than past experiences had made me. I had to face some tough facts.. and some tougher decisions. But, after hearing our voices, mom seemed to slowly get better. Maybe it was me reminding her of her promise to be there in the future when I have my first child. Maybe it was hearing me beg her not to do this to me. Maybe it was hearing her son's voice as well as her boyfriend's and sister's, my Aunt Pat. Maybe it was just my constant prayers, stregth, and faith, as well as that of my family's (those her were concerned with mom and not themselves). But, she got better. Slowly, but steadily. Until last week. When she developed a high fever and a bleeding in her brain. Not a good combination at all. But, at least my older brother had made it home, to take responsibilty off of my shoulders, and let mom know her was there. I thought we were gonna lose my mama a least a couple of times. I thought my worst fear was coming to light in this horrid nightmare. But mama pulled through. Yesterday, her brain quit bleeding (after about four or five days). There is a chance of permanent brain damage... but I'm just happy to hear that good news. There is still a long road ahead. But I know my mama can make it. I just waiting for the day when I can hear her reply when I tell her how much I love her. And I can't wait to hear her laugh when we tell her that her youngest son donated to himself, dropping some quarters in my mama's can.