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.