She Never Gave Up

My 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.
hezpa hezpa
31-35, M
3 Responses Jul 18, 2010

I'm incredibly grateful to read your story. <br />
I'm currently dealing with my Mum's second battle with breast cancer. The hardest thing I've been dealing with is the fact that when Mum's "secret" finally came out, she admitted she initially found the lump over 2 years ago and did nothing. <br />
<br />
I don't think she was just hiding it from us, but also hiding it from herself. A classic case of denial I suppose. <br />
<br />
She now has metastatic cancer which has spread to both her lungs and spine. She's currently undergoing chemo. Both her and my father seem to be in relatively high spirits. I don't think my Mum even sees death as an option. <br />
<br />
We're just taking each day as it comes. <br />
It's nice to know that other Mum's have hidden their cancer from their families as well because I thought my Mum was the only one. <br />
I just don't like seeing her in pain.

she was a very special person and her capacity for tolerance and depth of emotional empathy were astounding.<br />
Her passing changed me in ways that I'm still exploring. For a year after her death, emotional scenes in movies, at times absurdly corny ones even, would move me to tears.<br />
Once, a month or so after her death, I had a really awful day and I was very upset. As I was driving, I felt a strong need to visit her grave and impulsively turned round and went to the cemetary.<br />
As I pulled up, I was surprised to see my father was there as well. He asked how I knew he was there and I could only say I didn't. It seems he was there overseeing the the final touches as my mother's headstone was finally put in place.<br />
She had reached out from where ever she was and brought us together one last time.

Hezpa. Thankyou for sharing your story. I also lost my mum to cancer almost 18 years ago. Hers also started in the breast. She hid it from us all and did not go to the Doctors for 18 months.<br />
By then it had spread into the lymph glands.<br />
She fought it for 5 years ands it gradually spread into her spine, then brain.<br />
She died at home, I can remember sitting with her the night before she died.<br />
She was semi concious and said "lord please take me".<br />
This still makes me cry repeating it.<br />
She died the following morning.<br />
I miss her so much.