First and foremost I want to wish a happy Mother’s Day to all the moms reading. I hope you’re being treated well today (and every day), and being given all the love and respect you deserve.
I also wanted to share a personal update, because last Mother’s Day changed my family forever. The past year has probably felt like the longest of my life, as last Mother’s Day my mom was diagnosed with advanced stage ovarian cancer.
The past year for my mom
I’m so grateful for all of you who have sent your positive thoughts and prayers for the past year. I also wanted to provide an update regarding my mom’s condition, given that it has been a year, and since you guys have been so supportive.
Smiles last Mother’s Day, in spite of circumstances
My mom is the strongest person I know. She has been through more than I could possibly put into words.
Over the past year she has had two surgeries and has gone through an unbelievable 18 rounds of chemo. One of her surgeries had her in the ER for two weeks, as they removed cancer from 33 different tissues and organs, which was much worse than we were ever expecting.
I can’t even begin to imagine the pain she has been through, and it goes without saying that at times she questioned if the fight was worth it.
Late last year when she met with her doctor, she asked about her life expectancy, and at the time it didn’t look good at all (to put it mildly).
A positive update, at last
Just a few weeks ago my mom finished the last of her 18 rounds of chemo, at which point she had a scan done to see where things stood.
Much to everyone’s surprise (including her doctor’s), she is in remission, and cancer free. I can’t even begin to describe the level of joy we felt as a result of this, since we didn’t even think this would be a possibility for any amount of time.
Of course we recognize there’s a risk the cancer will come back — cancer is a journey with so so many ups and downs — but this is so much better of a situation than we were expecting up until that point, and we’re so grateful for that. She’s going to continue receiving treatment, but hopefully it doesn’t get in the way of her living her life as much as chemo otherwise has for the past year.
My mom, Ford, and Winston recently
What we’ve learned from this experience
The past year has honestly been the toughest year of our lives, but it’s also a year I’m so thankful for. The biggest lesson I was reminded of the moment my mom got diagnosed a year ago was to show your loved ones how much you love them. Whether that involves visiting them, picking up the phone and asking how they’re doing constantly, or whatever else. Life is a gift, and we simply can’t take it for granted.
Looking back at the journey over the past year, I’ve also learned a lot. Lots of readers had been in similar situations and provided some great advice, and I can’t help but repeat that. Most significantly, the past year has taught me:
- Live in the moment, day-by-day; obviously there are bad things going on in the world, but appreciate what a gift life is, and don’t take it for granted, even when times are tough (like what so many people are going through right now)
- Find balance; while the priority has been spending time with my mom as much as possible, it has also been good for my mental health to focus on work, traveling, etc., to distract myself
- I can’t emphasize this enough, but don’t ever take your loved ones for granted; make them a priority, even during good times
Here’s to hoping that this COVID-19 situation stabilizes eventually, because it sure would be nice to take her on some great trips in the coming months. Go figure we had booked a cruise from Italy to Spain for the end of the month (per my mom’s request), and obviously that’s not happening.
Thanks again to everyone for their kind thoughts. This is a long journey, and we’re happy to be at the point we’re at now. And to everyone out there during these tough times, hang in there. There will be better days ahead.