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Wednesday, 30 November 2011

So Your Mom's Got Cancer!: You have Cancer...WTF!

So Your Mom's Got Cancer!: You have Cancer...WTF!: How mom felt on day one! I remember the day I found out my mom had cancer. It was only a few days after she found out herself. My mom...

You have Cancer...WTF!

How mom felt on day one!

I remember the day I found out my mom had cancer.  It was only a few days after she found out herself.  My mom had told me that she had a cyst on her ovary and that she was going in as an in patient to get it removed.  She told me it was no big deal and she was delighted that someone was eventually doing something about it.

My mom was so convincing she even made jokes about feeling like Sigourney Weaver and getting the Alien out of her.  It's easy to think that things are better than they are when your mother is telling you everything is grand. She's your mother, you think that of all the people who will tell you the truth it would be her.

I know she was only protecting us but one can feel a little disappointed when you find out you are being left in the dark.  The funny thing is I remember when I found out saying to her "why didn't you tell me, I needed to know" and "I feel like a muppet".  This was not about me....My mother was ill and there I was thinking, woe is me, my mom is sick, what am I to do....

Anyway, I knew she was having her "minor surgery" at about 10am and I was in work thinking great she will be so much better after this.  I tried calling her mobile a few times after 11am knowing that if it was minor then she would be out quite soon, I tried again and again into the afternoon.  At about 2pm having worked in a hospital and knowing how to get through to surgeons myself I decided to ring the hospital desk and ask to page the registrar of her surgeon.

Score, I got through.  The registrar picked up and I stated that my mother had undergone surgery and I wanted to know how she got on.  The registrars first reply was "oh yeah, well the tumours were to big to remove, we are going to have to sit down and think of other options"  I was stunned...I replied "are you telling me my mother has cancer" I asked stupidly...."oh God, I'm sorry, your going to have to talk to her consultant" and hung up.

I sat there in a state of shock for what appeared to be ages but it must have been only a couple of seconds.  One of my colleagues passed me and I must have been just staring at the phone receiver because she came over and took it off me.....

The next hour was a blur, I don't know how I got to the hospital but I did and I was sitting by her bed when she woke up...her first words to me were "Is it gone, did they get it"  It was totally heart breaking, but she was a fighter and when I told her no she just asked "OK, what's the new plan"  I just took her hand, gave it a squeeze and said "we fight it"..she didn't want my younger sister finding out she was sick, she was still the baby.

That day was one of the worst in my life.  I haven't had many bad days but that was a bad day.  My one piece of advise to someone who finds out their parent or loved one has been diagnosed with cancer is...don't  think about how this affects you, think about how this affects them, they are the important ones in this situation, you can deal with your emotions later but for right now, its all about them, just be there for them.

Todays quote from my mom's diary:
                            If you only walk where the sun shines you will never complete your journey.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Betty Byrne / McDonnell a total legend!

Firstly I would like to thank you for reading, be patient, this blog is not about me really, but about someone far more important....My mom. 

My mothers birthday is soon upon me and for many reasons it seems important to share our experiences of dealing with Cancer with other Cancer patients, survivors and family members of these couragous and stong people.  I say 'our' experiences because although my mother lost her battle with the disease she kept a diary of almost every emotion she experienced right until the end and I would like to share these with others along with some of my own.

I was, for the last year of her life, my mothers full time carer.  This time was the most rewarding time of my life.  It was tough at times, but not always.  It is always there, in the back of your head, that they might be going somewhere but you just have to push that all to the back of your head and embrace every opportunity to share, to laugh, to love and to remember all those wonderful times you have shared with each other.

My mother was one of the most amazing women I have ever met....and I'm not being biased.  She was an amazing woman.  Her whole life was about her children.  She spent every day telling us how amazing we were, how beautiful we were and how talanted we were. 

Now, I could have been the dullest, most unattractive and useless loser that ever walked the planet but due to her total bias, and total sincerity I believed every word of it.

I am an avid Eastenders fan and was total appaled by the Tanya storyline, not because its about Cancer, I think it's an important storyline but because of the way they are dealing with it.  I know, I know, its 'Eastenders', a soap, its supposed to be far fetched but for the love of God. 

I'm not going to go on about what exactly I found dreadfull as this is not a blog about 'Eastenders' its a blog about dealing with Cancer and being the child of a perent with cancer.  Every person who deals with this disease has a different experience.  Not all of these experiences are bad. 

There are many different types of Cancer and who am I to say what one would or wouldn't do in any circumstance or how treatment effects different people, I can only write about what I know.

My mother was officially diagnosed on the 31st June 1996.  I was 19 years old and the eldest of three. She had been complaining for months about being totally swollen and feeling pregnant, but this was impossible as she had been seperated from my father for years and the only people she cared about was us, her kids.

I was a really independant young woman and had moved out the year before.  I remember getting a call in the middle of the night prior to her being diagnosed and she was screaming in pain.  I immediately drove to her and  I took her to the emergency room.  We spent hours in A&E, some 12 year old doctor saw us and x-rayed her and told her it was a kidney infection and sent us on our way.

I had a feeling that night something wasn't right, but who was I to argue with a young doctor.  This soon changed after she was diagnosed, I argued with a lot of them.  Anyway, I dont want to start this blog with a random string of thoughts that go nowhere but I will leave you with this, it's a quote, one of the first in my moms diary:

Feeling sorry for yourself and your present condition is not only a waste
of energy but the worst habit you could possibly have.
                                                                              Dale Carnegie