She Never Gave UpMy mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 17. She endured several rounds of chemotherapy and finally had a masectomy. She survived in good health and spirits for 9 years afterwards.
When the cancer returned, she kept it from all of us and quietly went to the doctor on her own. She kept it from everyone, even my father until it was no longer possible to do so. The cancerous cells had returned beneath the scar tissue of her masectomy and had begun attacking her lung. She battled the disease for a year. She swore my father to secrecy until there was no other choice but to face the inevitable. The cancer had metastisized and was slowly moving through her body and was particularly aggressive with her liver. In the end, it was liver failure that killed her.
She chose to die in her bed at home rather than spend her last days at the hospital. She was surrounded by her children and her husband and had said good bye to her own brother and sisters just hours before she passed.
Aftterwards, my Father shared the details of her last visit to the doctor. The doctor came out and told her along with my father that the cancer had metastisized and was inoperable. Additional chemo wouldn't significantly increase her life expectancy and would dramatically reduce the quality of her last days. Basically, he told them that there was nothing more to be done. My mother's response to this was so typical of her spirit. She told the doctor to schedule another round of tests and smiled at him and said she had a really good feeling and was still fighting and just wanted to give it one more shot.
The doctor looked at her, then my father and nodding his head, agreed to schedule the next round of tests. As my father waited in the hall for my mother, the doctor approached him and said that he'd agreed to schedule the tests to keep her spirits up, but that my mother wouldn't live to make the appointment.
I lost my Mother to cancer, 8 years ago today. I miss her, but she is with me still.