Two years ago today, Jesse and I were still in Colorado visiting our family for Christmas when, my Mom sat me down to talk. Now, by the look on her face, I knew it couldn't be good news. Thoughts went racing through my mind. Then, she said it. She told me that she had cancer, and was going to have surgery right after we flew out of town. What?!?! I thought. Of all the worst case scenarios that played out in my head when she started talking when we sat down, that. was. not. one of them. I was shocked. I was stunned. I was sad. She explained a little more to me, and then I brought Jesse into the room and we told him. We all embraced, but I couldn't help but think that our life, her life, my life, all of our lives would never be the same. This woman, who in her very essence brought me (and my sisters) into this world, brought us to faith in Christ and was the who holds our family together, was sick. Very sick with cancer. The outcomes were unknown. It was scary.
I changed my flight that day, so that I would be able to stay for my Mom's surgery and some of her recovery. Jesse went down to his parents house to spend a couple of days with them before heading back to NC but I couldn't leave my Mom's side. I kept thinking that just the days before we had been celebrating Christmas and having a great time. Then just the day before she told me, we had gone up to Rocky Mountain National Park where we hiked all around Bear Lake in deep snow. She never let on that anything was wrong. She never let on that she was sick. That she had cancer. That she, could be dying.
Thankfully, a few days later she had surgery that successfully removed all of the cancer (by the top oncologist in the Rockies). My sister, who also lives out of state, flew in with her infant daughter to be there by my Mom's side for her surgery and some recovery. My other sister came down for a day with her oldest daughter to spend time with my Mom during recovery.
The fight wasn't over yet though. She had a painful road to recovery because of where the cancer was and how aggressive the surgery had to be. She also endured weeks of intense radiation therapy a couple of months later. My Mom has always been a strong woman. She's competitive and always has been active, often out hiking any of us girls. She's proven to be an even stronger fighter throughout this whole process though. A few months after her surgery and therapy, my Mom had the opportunity to be a part of a Cancer Rehab program where she had a personal trainer and worked out 4 times a week. She not only stuck with that for the time it was offered, but has since gotten a personalized training plan at her local gym and has gotten my dad on board too! She inspires me with her strength, her faith and her wisdom. I love that she never gives up, even when the going gets treacherous. I am so proud of my 2 year Cancer Surviving Mom, who is stronger today than ever!
Today, I'm more thankful than ever for my Mom. My best friend. My hero.