Monday, October 15, 2012

Guest Post: My Daughter's Story

One thing I've learned when facing the "c" beast, each of us fight in our own way. Whether or not we have choices to make regarding medical procedures, the emotional and mental parts of the equation are as unique and numerous as the stars in the sky. The night of my diagnosis, I made decisions as to how I would fight. Very deliberately and very aggressively. I also demanded life continue as close to normal as possible. I refused to give cancer anything more than absolutely necessary. What I didn't consider was the toll my approach would take on my family and friends. In spite of their overwhelming need to take care of me, they supported me and let me do things my way. Today, my daughter shares her heart...what she felt...what she feared...what she did for me. 

Dearest Keri, I love you to the moon and back! Mom


A few weeks ago my mom asked me to write a blog post about my experience with breast cancer since October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.  Of course I said yes, that I would write a post, because I knew that it meant a lot to my mom.  But did I want to write it?...Not at all.  A feeling of dread came over me after I committed to writing a post, not because I hate writing (seeing that I am a math teacher)  but because I do not want to go back to that dark place ever again.  I have worked so hard to put my fear, sadness, and hatred that I feel towards cancer aside because I do not want to bring those memories to the surface again.


Celebrating the last chemo treatment

It’s only been a little over two years since my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, and I can remember the exact moment I found out.  My mom told me that she, my aunt and grandmother were coming to visit me in Athens, Georgia where I was in college.  I was so excited about my mom visiting me that I was up early that morning getting ready for a fun day.  I remember going to lunch with my family and my boyfriend and having a great time.  Then we went back to my house and my mom sat me down on my bed and told me that she had to tell me something really important.  She told me that she had stage three breast cancer, that it seemed like it had just popped up over night, and that she would be going through chemo, surgery, and radiation.

I remember just asking myself why over and over in my head.  Why my mom? Why me? After everything my mom had been through, why did this have to happen to her? Why could’t something good ever come her way? I remember thinking that I wanted to move back home to be with her so badly and she kept telling me that she wanted me to stay in school and to stay strong for her.  She wanted me to keep living my life like normal so that when she talked to me it would seem like part of her life was still normal too.

This was so hard for me to grasp because I just wanted to be there for her and help her like she had helped me all of my life.  It hurt me so much that I couldn’t be there for her when she needed me the most.  She had great friends and family members back in North Carolina that could help take care of her, but I wanted to be the one to take her to the doctor and I wanted to be the one to give her medicine in the middle of the night.  I wanted to be the shoulder she cried on when she was upset or not feeling well, but I couldn’t.

The only thing I really knew to do while at school was to get more involved with my sorority whose philanthropy was breast cancer awareness and education.  I also signed up for several Susan G. Komen 5k races.  One of my favorite memories that still brings tears to my eyes is one of these 5k races.  About twelve of us, my mom included, participated in a race and I will never forget seeing my mom run across the finish line.  I don’t know why that moment meant so much to me.  Maybe it was because it was a moment when I saw that my mom was still my mom.  She was still the strong and courageous woman I had always known her to be.  She was fighting to cross the finish line just like she was fighting to beat the cancer.  Even when she did not know if she was going to live or die, she was still fighting and living each moment to the fullest.


We ran the race and fought the fight together!

There were many moments like this one when I saw what an amazing woman she is.  And now, two years later, I still see a woman who is fighting to live each moment to the fullest.  I still see a woman who loves, laughs, cries, and praises.  Even with all of the things she has been through, I still see the mom I’ve always seen, which shows me that no matter what I may go through in life, I can never give up.  I can never stop trying to be the woman my mom raised me to be.  And if I ever get discouraged, I know I always have a great role model to look at who has taught me more about life than I could ever have imagined, and for that I am thankful.



While cancer has brought much fear and sadness into my life, it has also brought so much love and admiration.  The women that fight a battle with breast cancer are such an inspiration for the rest of us. And mom, you are my inspiration.  I love you.



28 comments:

  1. I will admit that I tear up often when reading Lisa's Blog, and this was no exception!! I love Lisa and she is a great friend, I have just recently met Keri and I thought she was just awesome. She is so beautiful and has the best personality. And I know that she gets both of those from her Mother! Thank you Keri for writing this post. I can only imagine how hard all of this was for you. I am just so glad that it has turned out the way it has, with your mom doing so well!

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    1. You are an awesome friend Joe! Thanks for always being there with encouraging words. Love ya!

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  2. Outstanding post. Lisa once said, "Things don't happen to you, they happen FOR you." Never more evident than in your last two paragraphs.

    Once again, outstanding.

    A Fan

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    1. Thanks for complimenting my girl! :-)

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    2. She seems to have your personal strengths, your eloquence in expression and certainly blessed with your 'looks.'

      Definitively, her mom's daughter.

      A Fan

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  3. Beautiful post!!! Thanks for sharing your story!

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  4. Mary Wilson StephensOctober 15, 2012 at 10:58 AM

    Keri, I am so proud of you. You were so strong during that time and that was just what your Mom needed. I know it was hard for you, especially when you just want to forget it. You are an amazing daughter and granddaughter. Good job! I love you!

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    1. Mom, you both were my rock! Thanks for being there for Keri and for being there for me. I Love You!

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  5. Wonderful daughter! Your marvelous parenting is evident in the fine young woman she is.

    Ardith

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    1. Thanks for that Ardith...honestly, I just got lucky! She is one amazing young lady.

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  6. Sweet story. Made me have chills. What a wonderful family you have Lisa.

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    1. I thank God daily for the wonderful family He has given me. I know you also have a beautiful, loving family. What a blessing!

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  7. HUGS to you BOTH!!! Thank you so much for sharing!

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  8. Lisa, I've always loved your blog posts, your determination and courage to live is an inspiration to us all. Keri, your post was from the heart and shows the love you have for your Mom.
    Keep following your hearts girls!
    xoxo

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    1. Lorry!!! Oh how I've missed you! Thank you for stopping by...for commenting...for your kind words! Hope all is well with you! Sending you many hugs!

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  9. Such a precious and heartwarming post. I am trying to see through the tears as I type this. Lisa you are precious and your daughter is so caring. Many prayers to you! Your post are such a blessing to me. Love and Hugs to you!

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  10. Once again Lisa you have done the most amazing thing, even though you didn't write these words...you produced the woman who could & that's a more difficult task! I recognize Keri's feeling of helplessness, when she wanted, more than anything, to be the one to be there. When my brother was sick, I wanted so badly to be his donor, but that wasn't my role...I can only hope that I played my role with as much effectiveness & elegance as your Keri did!
    With much love,
    Mat

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    1. Mat, I know you truly understand. I'm sure you were everything your brother needed you to be. Thank you for the kind words for my girl. Much love back to you!

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  11. Thank you, Keri, for sharing your experience. Lisa has made such an impact on people she's only 'met' online, myself included, that I can only imagine how tight knit her friendships and relationships are with the people in her family and life at home. What an amazing relationship you two have! :>

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  12. Lisa and Keri...what an incredible journey you have been through. Through my tears and emotions, I see the love, strength and beauty of your incredible relationship. I've lost several friends and family through breast cancer, and am very active with the cancer coalition and Susan Komen here in Chattanooga; your story will always be close to my heart. I love my old neighbors and will continue to pray for you and your beautiful heart and family.

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    1. Although we are no longer neighbors, I will always consider you and your family MY family. Thank you for your prayers! Sending you love and many hugs!

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  13. Thank you all for the kind words and the encouragement you bring to me and my mom. I know that neither one of us could have made it through this battle without the support of our friends and family.

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  14. What a beautiful post!!!! You both are such wonderful and strong women...Daughters are such a blessing and Lisa you have been blessed by Keri!!!! You girls amaze me and uplift me!!!! Blessing to both of you!!!!

    Jocelyn

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    1. Jocelyn, you exhibit strength and determination every single day! I truly believe God brought us together! I love you!

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  15. Lisa, you gave a wonderful mother who loves you and cares for. Thank God for having her their to support you. Such a beautiful testament to the mother and daughter relationship.

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  16. Beautiful Keri truly BEAUTIFUL!!! I love you!!! Aunt Carmen

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