Before And After Cancer

I think of life with my mother now as the time before and after; before and after she had cancer for a second time.

Prior to this latest bout with cancer, I’d forgotten she had it before. When she did, I was living in Boston. I wasn’t with her when she had surgery. I only heard sparse details on the phone. By the time, I came to see her she was sore and had a scar but that was it. I was young so the notion that cancer could’ve taken her from me was far from my thoughts.

This time, I was by her side from the days after her surgery, to her first oncologist and radiation appointments. I witnessed the fatigue, the blackening of the skin on her hands and feet from the medications, the limitation to her diet, the weight loss, the fatigue, and the pain. I also considered that she might miss me or my brothers getting married, having or adopting a child, or us growing old.

So, I was honored to chauffeur her around during her first, nearly full day outing yesterday. The very first since she underwent her last chemo treatment nearly eight months after surgery.

I was grateful to buy her new clothes that would fit her significantly slimmed down frame. I was glad to take her to spend time with her only living sibling, my aunt in a nursing home. I was happy to make a Home Depot run to get items for projects she wants to work on around the house. I was overjoyed to grab cold things for her in the supermarket because the frigid temperature made her fingers tingle.

We spent nearly seven hours together; seven hours I wasn’t certain we might have again. I think back to when my mom revealed her diagnosis. She told me not to worry, to lean on my faith. And, I know, that by the grace of God we had yesterday and will have all the days to come together.

#faithheals #cancer #cancersucks #family #qualitytime #chronicpain #chronicillness #mothersanddaughters #blackfamily #blacklove

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