On the 8 October 2002, my Mum was diagnosed with breast cancer, a day after I was born. At the time, the tumour was too large to be surgically removed, so she faced a long journey of chemotherapy and radiation. Finally, surgery became possible, and she undertook an operation to remove the tumour. For months, she lived thinking she had won the battle, and she would be able to watch my older brother and I grow up, but unfortunately, this wasn’t the case.
The cancer had spread. Her specialist, gave her the devastating news, that she had a brain tumour. Once again, she faced chemotherapy and radiation. After another long journey, she had brain surgery to remove the tumour. Going into this, doctors had no idea how she would be afterwards, the chances of her having a permanent disability, losing her speech or losing some form of mobility was high. But like the fighter she is, she came out with nothing more than some slight memory loss and feeling sluggish.
You would think that would be the end of the story. Two rounds of cancer, 2 years of fighting and 2 surgeries would conclude with a happy ending, surely that’s enough?
After multiple months living with the fear the cancer would return, mum’s worst nightmare came true. There was another brain tumour. It was inoperable, no amount of chemotherapy or radiation would change that. The cancer was there, and it was there to stay. My Mum was terminally ill, and no one was sure of how long she had left. One thing was clear, my mum was a fighter, and she wasn’t going to give up anytime soon. Knowing she wasn’t going to be there to grow old with my dad and watch my brother and I grow up, she decided to make the most of whatever time she had left. This meant travelling, taking my brother and I out of kindergarten for day trips, usually just one on one so we had special memories with her and doing everything she wanted to do, whether she felt up to it or not.
She made it to my 3rd birthday, and my brothers first day of school, a milestone no one expected her to be alive to see. Finally, after 3 years of fighting, the cancer won. On the 3 December 2005, my mum lost her battle with cancer, she died peacefully in her sleep with my dad and her parents by her side. One thing that I can be certain about, she was tough, and she refused to give in.
Almost 13 years on, I am taking part in my third Carman’s Women’s Fun Run to honour her and do everything I can to help other people, so they don’t have to go through the same thing. This year, I am fundraising with the help of one of my closest friends, Kate. By doing this, I have found an amazing way to honour my mum and remember her story. With your help, we can make a difference, one step at a time.