I was told of my Mother’s cancer diagnoses as my childhood concluded, and this recollection has permeated my every cell. My Mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at 43; I was 12 at the time. My mother was a woman of grace and kindness, the kind that you don’t discover very often.
She withstood an arduous brawl with strength and dignity, and without many of the resources that now exist. I recall months of living in a house drenched in the metallic smell that one of her chemotherapy drugs left behind, and sitting on the floor of the bathroom helping collect the hair that my mother’s chemo had taken away. Throughout it all, she maintained lightness about her, never ceasing to offer up one of her infectious belly laughs; complete with tears running down her flushed cheeks, that seemed to go on for hours, and that one would wish to continue hours longer. Astoundingly, she survived the ovarian cancer.
Furthermore learning from experience about the need for additional psychosocial support for cancer patients, and their loved ones, she founded The Wellness Community Cincinnati. I found solace in believing that it was over, the cancer having dissolved in defeat. My mothers reprieve was short-lived; at the age of 51 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The years after oscillated between moments of hope, and distress, as the cancer would seem to disappear, only to reappear having introduced itself to any organ that should dare to reside in close proximity to her breast. By the age of 55, she was gone.
Unbeknownst to any of us, this was the foundation of a journey, which would lead to decisions that would transform my body and my life.