I remember the day like it was yesterday. I remember your face when you got home from the doctors, barely able to look at me. I remember the fear and sadness in Dad's eyes. And I remember the words that slipped out your mouth. "They found a tumor." As I heard those words I thought to myself. Oh, this can't be too bad. They caught it early... right?
A couple of days go by and we got the worst news. Stage 4. A few days later, inoperable. The cancer has spread from your colon to your liver and your abdominal wall. Just a little over a year ago your colonoscopy was clear of everything. Five years of being cancer-free since you were diagnosed the summer going into my freshman year of high school, with stage 1. I've been angry since the very first day we found all this out. Angry at myself for not always being the nicest to you, angry because I have to watch my own mother go through the worst pain, angry because there is nothing I can do to make any of this better, just angry at everything. Angry that in a little over a year this cancer just came out of nowhere and changed our lives for the worst.
Words cannot express how I feel most days, but it's a feeling I wouldn't wish upon anyone. I've thought multiple times about what you've done to deserve this and I couldn't think of a single thing. I think everything happens for a reason and I can't think of a single reason. I don't understand why you have to go through this and life is so unfair right now and I would take all of this away if I could. I'd take the cancer right from you (even though that's the last thing you'd want), but I'd do it. At times it's hard for me to think about the future.Graduation, nursing license, engagement, marriage, buying a house, having children. I am scared. I am scared that I will have to do this without you. Everyone tells me to think positive, and that since you're responding well to chemo right now I should be happy (which I am). What everyone else doesn't understand is that I have to think about how I may not have my mother with me for the most important things that life will bring. I want you to see me reach all of my goals and I hope that you will.
I think about you and our situation all the time. You're starting to lose your hair which you have been dreading. I know this is so hard to grasp and I can't imagine what it is like to feel how you are feeling, but to me you are so beautiful. A lot of times people pair beauty with looks, but I pair it with much more than just that. Strength is the most beautiful thing in a woman and every day you show me just what that is. After your first round of chemo, you ended up in the ICU. This was definitely one of the hardest things for all of us to see, especially with the condition you were in. No one knew what was going to happen and of course, we all thought the worst. But right then and there your strength showed the most. You pulled through and fought for all of us, and I'll never forget it. From you, I've learned how to be strong and stick up for myself. You've taught me how to be grateful for the little things, and to not take anything for granted.
Watching you go through the worst is most definitely the hardest thing a daughter can go through. I watch every single step your nurses make and make sure they don't miss anything or don't mess anything up. I listen to every single word your doctor says before your chemo treatments every other week. And most importantly I listen to you. I can imagine it's hard to talk about how you feel during all of this to your children because you probably don't want us to be more scared if you're scared, or be more sad if you're sad. But that's part of all of this. Each and every one of us is here for you to talk to, to cry with, or even just scream with, if you need a good scream. We're all in this together as a family through every step of the way.
I am so lucky to have you as my mother and I'm so thankful for all the memories we have together. Thank you for shaping me into the woman I am today. I wouldn't be who I am today without you by my side every step of the way. You have always stuck up for me and you've always been my biggest advocate. It's my turn now to take care of you and to advocate for you.
I know the cards you've been dealt lately are scary and unfair, but we got this. Keep fighting. I love you, Mom. #PetersonStrong