By Stacey C.
My Mom was diagnosed in 1996 with breast cancer. Her whole life my Mom was always the life of the party, the happy person everyone loved to be around, someone who just lit up a room. Her journey though breast cancer serves as my life’s inspiration and compass. I asked her once “Why are not upset and mad, how can you be going through this without any anger?” She looked at me and said, “If crying, screaming, and beating my head against the wall would help, I would do it in heartbeat…but that will not help me anyway. I have to stay positive.” ….and that she did, she rented only funny movies to watch (the Bird Cage with Robin Williams was her #1 fave, following by Private Benjamin with Goldie Hawn). Her drive and determination to be positive was remarkable.
When she was shivering in bed for hours uncontrollably after chemo, her saliva turning mustard yellow in color, all of her hair gone and in depth of treatments… I remember lying beside her..and she asked me to dream with her. She wanted to see beyond this time…to create a light at the end of this dark tunnel she was in. She loved to travel and decided when she got 1 inch of hair back and was able to function she wanted my sister and I to go with her to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. This dream became her lifeline and inspiration and ours too. We all agreed, no matter what happened..we were going to see that Cabo sunset..together!
She cut out pictures from photo albums and magazines and taped these images of “happy times” inside all the cabinets of her house. So every time she’d go for a glass of water, do a load of laundry, open the panty or medicine cabinet..she was greeted with reminders of a life happy.
She FOUGHT to find this happiness. It was not easy. She wrestled often with what she called “the WHALE in the room” and told me her job was to make it into a guppy. She went back and forth with that “whale” almost daily. It was a long journey to get back her health. Then one day, she called to tell me she just got the best prescription ever…it was from her Oncologist. The prescription read “Red Baywatch” swim suit..use as directed.” We left shortly thereafter for the most memorial Mother/Daughter trip to Cabo to see that sunset together. It was a dream realized for all of us. For the rest of her life, she always spoke about how that was the best trip she had ever taken. It is one of my most precious memories.
I lost my Mom in 2012, not to breast cancer, she had a stroke and passed unexpectedly. When I was going through her closet…I found mounted on the wall inside, so she could see it EVERY day of her life, that prescription. It is now on my wall…and I see it every day. Each time I look at it I am reminded of a truly inspirational and wonderful woman I am blessed to call my Mom. I am also reminded to always try to do my best to be positive in my life’s attitude, to fight for happiness if need be and to always have a dream that gives your heart hope, purpose and love.