It was a normal Friday night, except for the fact that I don’t typically go out on Friday nights- I take that time to recover, recoup, regroup, watch 20/20, and get a good nights rest without having to wake up at the crack of dawn the following morning.
…Except this last Friday night- was atypical. I stopped by a friends pre-holiday party she was having at her boutique. While sipping, shaking hands, and mingling, my phone rang. The screen displayed “Mom” I quickly answered, knowing I had dinner plans, and although I couldn’t quite hear her, I said “Mom, Mom, did you mean to call me, hello?” It was in that moment I realized my Mom was gasping for air, searching for words, and was in complete, and utter shock… “It’s cancer” she said, “He has cancer.” In that moment my world stopped. I couldn’t process or particularly fathom what my Mom was actually saying–or not saying, but I knew I had to go home. Before hanging up the phone I responded with; “I’m on my way.”
I arrived at my parents doorstep searching for the right words, having so many unanswered questions, and still feeling like this couldn’t possibly be happening. My Mom was on the couch, sobbing. You could see it in her glossed over eyes that “this can’t be happening” was going through her head, time and time again. She would go from trying to explain the situation to me, to talking about the event that I just came from. Her mind almost immediately took her into a tail spin and she thought the worse, envisioned it, and believed it to be true.
Once she was able to form a complete sentence she began to tell me the instances in which they occurred. I knew that my Stepfather was having complications with his spine, yet thought it may have been a slipped disc, or a severely pinched nerve. After a dozen diagnostic tests, the results were conclusive; multiple myeloma. A rare cancer that effects fewer than 200,000 people in the United States. It’s a cancer that attacks the plasma cells which ultimately weakens, and or break down bones in the body.
I’m a very matter of fact person. If there’s a problem, I like to be able to come up with a solution, if I can’t come up with a solution I’m typically able to figure out a resolution. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case. There were no words that would make the situation better. There was nothing that could turn the truth into a fallacy, and there was no way to rewind time to just a week prior when we were all at my best friends birthday party, as though everything was fine, and there was a reason to celebrate.
Seeing my Mom in such pain, and not being able to console her was what hurt the most. Seeing as she had just found out she didn’t know much other than what the Doctors translated to her, and what google said. Eventually my Stepfather came down and explained everything in greater detail. Although he was able to hold it together (most likely to be strong for my Mother) you could see that he too was in shock, and was unable to process where his life was headed. He so profoundly said “I’ve lived a good life, I was never rich, but I’ve traveled- I even made it to Peru…” He wasn’t told what stage his cancer was in, or what his overall treatment plan would be…but, he was told that his time was limited. I won’t get in to specific amounts of time because I feel that’s personal, often misinterpreted, and can often times be wrong.
Cancer sucks, it f*cking sucks. It takes the lives of loved ones, ruins that lives of those they leave behind, make you question life, a higher power, and why, and there are a hundred more reasons as to why nobody deserves to go through this God awful disease.
As a family we’re no strangers to cancer. My Mom and Stepdad’s Fathers’ have passed away from cancer, my Grandfather, my Dad, Uncle, and Brother have all had cancer, and my Mom recently lost her best friend to a long and difficult battle against it. Dealing with it so frequently doesn’t make it any easier, in fact I think it makes it more difficult because you can’t believe that yet again this is happening.
Although cancer sucks, cancer also puts things into perspective in the blink of an eye. It can change your entire outlook in just a moment in time. That night, it brought my immediate family, (and closest friends) together. We prayed, we embraced, and we spoke about the future. Although it may be bleak at times, there is still a future. There is still something to look forward to. Whether we like it or not, we all have an expiration date, yet most of us have no idea when it is. The thing with cancer, is that sometimes we do. We know that we don’t have forever and a day left of this earth, so we have to make up for the time that we’re consequently going to lose. I’d be lying if I said the road ahead would be an easy one, in fact, I know it’s going to be a very long and difficult one- but it’s one that we have to face head on, and one that we will face as a family. The road will be filled with up’s and downs, family vacations, celebrations, tears of both joy and sadness, but most importantly one of togetherness.
In this generation, and time of life we struggle with living in the present, we struggle with realizing that life truly is a gift. We focus on everything else surrounding us thats negative, and brings us little to no joy. When given such horrific news we tend to focus on the end and thats undoubtedly acceptable at times, but it’s throughout those times that we need to celebrate our existence, embrace our loved ones, invest in experiences that will be cherished forever, and leave everything else that no longer feeds our souls behind.
Don’t worry Mom, and K– we’ve got this, we’re all in this one together.