Today isn’t just any old Tuesday. Today is my Mama’s birthday!! Woohoo! Check out this rock star:
I’d like to take this post to get a little more personal than usual and tell you her health and fitness story.
Ok, so my mom. She’s always been active. Growing up, she’d swim in the pool with me and my sister, ride her bike around the park with us and do her Richard Simmons step videos (oh yea) every now and then in the living room. She was in good shape, but more importantly she was happy and healthy.
In 1997, we made one of our bi-annual family trips to the dentist and everything changed.
The dentist spotted a few things in her mouth that didn’t look quiet right and suggested she go see an ear/nose/throat specialist. Responsible lady that she is, she immediately followed up. Thank goodness that she did.
The dentist had spotted something called leukoplakia, which are basically precancerous spots that form in the mouth.
Sooner than anyone would have liked, the precancerous spots became malignant, and the oncologists were recommending surgery to remove them.
Our family was derailed a bit. While my mom never once stopped being the most amazing mother in the world, the cancer threw her into a bit of depression and she started to gain weight.
Over the next 15 years, she continued to battle both the cancer and her weight. She had countless surgeries and tried about as many diets. Each time she was on the right track, the cancer would rear its ugly head and beat her back down.
About two years ago, my mom had had enough – enough of carrying around extra weight, enough of the depression and enough of the cancer dictating her health and happiness. My Dad got a new job, my parents moved to a new state and my Mom decided it was time to start over. The cancer finally seemed to be staying at bay, and she started shedding the pounds.
One day she sent me an email saying she wanted to do a 5K. I was ecstatic! I told her download the C25k program, found a race where she could get a medal (check out our experience), and after months of hard work, she was crossing that finish line – free from cancer and 85 pounds lighter!
Well, the cancer demons must have seen how happy she was – how back-to-her-normal-self she was – and they struck again. She had yet another surgery this past January, and a few weeks ago, we learned that it’s back and it’s spreading. What once only existed on her tongue has now expanded to her gums and her cheek.
She’s having surgery again a week from Wednesday, and I just can’t understand why. Why did she get cancer? Why does it keep coming back? Why does she have to keep going through this?
I don’t have the answers to those questions. No one does, but what I do know is this:
- We are lucky that she is under the care of some of the best doctors in the world. They are doing everything they can to keep the cancer from spreading to a point where she would need more invasive or extreme procedures.
- My mom is strong. No matter how much the cancer tries to take away from her physically, financially and emotionally, it won’t draw her back into that downward spiral.
- It won’t beat us. We are a strong family. We support each other no matter what and love each other unconditionally. Cancer may make us cry and it may make us angry. It may have won a few battles, but after almost 20 years in this fight, I know it will not win.
I also know that today is my Mama’s birthday, and we will not be sad today. We will celebrate her and be happy knowing that she will get through this and have many many more healthy and happy birthdays. And you know what, Mr. Cancer, you’re not invited!
No “Let’s Chat” for today, but I do have two requests:
- Take a moment today to tell the people you love that you love them.
- Look any challenges you’re facing in the eye and tell them they will not defeat you.