Mums battle with cancer

October 24, 2014  •  1 Comment

I know Mum's going to hate this.. because she never wants attention, pity, help, and all those things that come from someone when you say, "My Mum has cancer". I want to share her story because it's my mum.. but also to help others. I find that sharing stories always helps.. it brings us to an even keel and allows us to all acknowledge the shared struggles that we have in this world… as well as the shared celebrations and miracles. I took these photos back in March.. and Mum is still living…fighting. It's taken me a long time to be able to write this. I needed to stomach it, separate from it, process it, as I went through that stage when I couldn't even talk about it.. without crying. I'll probably shed some tears whilst writing this.. but that's okay, I'm behind the screen, right?! Mum. Where do I start? Those who know me, know her.. She's refined, polished, a diplomat, and Dutch.. does that sum her up? She was that 60 something year old with the six pack - Healthy habits and yet, cancer. Kidney cancer which has since spread and brought on some other 12 tumors that are identifiable, caused her to be hospitalized multiple times, stole her kidney, brought on transfusions, has her actively married to Chemotherapy. and has handed her several major bouts of radiation. The side-effects are god-awful and rob her of any quality of life.. and yet, she enjoys her quality of life. Visits from the Grandkids, us girls (their three daughters and our families), and my dad - her husband, life-partner, and best friend.. of almost 40 years now. Okay, now the tears start. I'm okay.. (clear throat). Mum is pretty damn stubborn when it comes to accepting help.. and some days I hate her for it.. other days, I realize that it's because she is so damn determined to beat the devil of a disease.. somehow and someday. She's fortunate to be able to see some of the best doctors in Australia.. and even they, at times, have given up on her. She was only given months really to live.. and that was over 3years ago. Ava and I raced home last Christmas - to be there with Mum on Christmas day.. because we weren't sure she make it past February.. according to the Oncologist. It's almost November. She's still kicking. She is stronger than anyone I know. She is positive like a brick.. though she has her days. We all had to lift her the other day in spirit and prayer because pain and discomfort had got to her and she was ill.. but that was one day.. and she's back. I firmly believe that she is still around because of her attitude - her will to live, her want to live, her positivity in dealing with all this. I think we can all learn something from that. She's the first to say something like ," it's just another bump in the road", or "everything happens for a reason".. What about us? What's our first response? How do our thoughts affect our day and our emotions and behavior? What do we complain about daily? I'll tell you what she doesn't complain about. Feet so sore as a side-effect from the chemo that she can't walk.. yet nothing is wrong with her feet. A throat so raw and burned from the oral doses of chemo that she takes, meaning there are days that she just can't eat.. even liquids.. and even sucking liquids through straws hurt. Fingertips having the same pain as her feet.. rendering her useless to open things, slice things, yet alone dress and brush her teeth. The nausea. The vomiting. The diarrhea. And often, at the same time. The low blood pressure off chemo, the high blood pressure on chemo which means extra tablets to help lower it. The anti-nausea pills, anti-diarreah pills, pills to help soothe the already burned throat, nutritional drinks to make sure she's getting some quality intake of protein when it's runny enough to go up the straw. Hair falling out. Hair growing back completely white. Looking jaundice from the chemo. The sunken eyes where once was stunning beauty. The swollen face and body parts from fluid retention - which then requires another tablet. Needing tea to help ease the nausea.. but not too hot nor too cool. A very quick dip of the tea bag in the otherwise tasteless water.. else, it's too bitter and brings on the nausea. A tiny bit of sugar to offset the bitterness. The hours Googling what things mean, what alternative medicines there are, and how to ship them in from overseas. And that's just the start of my list. I feel guilty every day for not being there to help.. but have managed to go back several times for extended periods.. typically 6wks.. and at the beginning of this year, it was for 3mnths. I can "physically" help with food prep, around the house, driving, groceries, etc.. but apart from that, I can't help. Mum helps herself. We can all help ourselves. Being appreciative of our health, our abilities, and our lives. And the people in them. Learn from them. Manage your thoughts and keep them positive. Maybe pray a little to whatever it may be that you pray to. Stop and look around… and take it all in. And more than anything, keep your chin up. Pay attention to your attitude because THAT is what allows us to feel good or bad. Feel beaten.. yea, you'll feel like crap.. Feel determined and damn straight, you sit up and beat that sucker! So go out. Take life's horns in your hands and ride that baby! Ride it for me, my mum, all those fighting cancer right now.. but most importantly yourself! What do you have to loose? xx


Summer Wilson(non-registered)
Thank you for sharing this, Didi. Your Mum's determination to really live life is evident in how she passed it on to you. While I don't have the privilege of knowing her, I am so glad she raised you to become who you are. Hugs to you and your mum, dear girl!
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