"Do All Things with Love"- My Mother's Journey Home
In April of 2018 my mom, Linda - an advocate for AdvancedBreastCancer.net, received a diagnosis of stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. The cancer had spread to her bones and there was a nodule on her liver. We knew that a diagnosis was coming, but we didn't know what to expect. And with cancer... you never know what to expect or what life will hold after the doctor tells you, "You have cancer."
So, here I am. It’s now November 2019 and my mom’s journey on this earth has come to an end. However, it doesn’t mean her story stops, it’s now my turn to share her LOVE of life and words of wisdom.
Sharing the diagnosis
When mom was first diagnosed, she didn’t tell many. She shared the news with my dad, my sister and of course myself and a few people within her close circle of friends. There was a reason why she didn’t tell many, and she wrote it in one of her articles (5 Things I Want My Family and Friends to Know About Life with MBC) She didn’t want people to worry about her. She says “Lose the long face, I am a confident, wife, mother and grandmother. Just worry about yourself.”
Making yourself and your life the priority
Mom had a plan, in fact, she would say God had a plan. She knew the journey ahead may not be easy, but she wanted to live life to the fullest. I can imagine it is hard to live life to the fullest when you think the inevitable, I may lose my battle, there may not be a treatment for me, the cancer could be aggressive and I don’t know how much time I will have. There are many questions and thoughts that can consume your mind but my mom tried to flip the script and focus on the beauty of life, the music that would find her dancing throughout the rooms of her home and the quiet moments in life when she could “Stay Amazed”.
My mom was caring for my daughter, Emily, at the time of diagnosis. My husband and I really lucked out having her help raise our daughter. But, we realized soon after she was diagnosed that she had to focus on herself now, and while we wanted my mom to take care of Emily forever, mom needed to focus on her journey and how she could improve her health in the best way she could. She took the bull by the horns!
- She did her research (consulted with a naturopath, watched her diet)
- She worked with a personal trainer, did yoga and Latin dancing
- She talked to people who lived with cancer
- She joined an online community
- Most importantly she surrounded herself with positive people, people that would bring her joy. Her greatest joys her grandchildren, Emily (3), Sydney (2), and Thomas (a few weeks old).
Preparing for the worst but expecting the best
In October of 2019, my mom’s cancer had started to aggressively move to the liver. While none of her treatment options were working the last option was chemotherapy. All along my mom’s wishes were that she would try everything in her power to inhibit the spread. But after her days in the ICU, she was given a choice to have her body filled with intravenous chemo or live life comfortably at home. With great courage and confidence, this strong woman decided to live life comfortably at home. As devastating as it was for us to think, she doesn’t have much time left, mom decided to prepare us for the worst, but be hopeful for the best.
The greatest gift she could have ever given my father, sister and I was the gift of her words. We sat down one day after the stay in the ICU and she told us ... "I am not afraid to die, I am sad for all of you, but I have lived an amazing life I have many memories and dreams that have been fulfilled. I hope that you will all continue to keep my memory alive.”
Leaving her legacy
As tough as it was to hear these words, it was important that she shared this with us so that we could be at peace. Mom’s last article she wrote was about Leaving A Legacy. Boy, did she leave that legacy for all us. So while we were all prepared for the worst her words of strength, courage and confidence will sustain us for the rest of our lives. She has left a legacy of love.
Thank you to all those at AdvancedBreastCancer.net for your community support and dedication, and while all of us have a different cancer journey, I hope there are pieces of my mom’s journey that can help you in yours.
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