Wednesday, March 23, 2016

cancer brought my mom and i closer.

we shared amazing memories throughout her six week stint of radiation at princess margaret in toronto. with the exception of a few days a week, i made the trek downtown after work every day to have dinner with my resilient mother. physically, i was drained, but emotionally, i left each night feeling inspired, and thankful.

she fought cancer like a champ, and everyone knew it. she was her shuttle bus driver's craziest passenger, security's biggest source of entertainment, and a light to all those who were fighting the same, dumb disease. it wasn't uncommon for me to show up and find my mom surrounded by every other cancer patient at the lodge and making them laugh. she was a magnet that one; her magnetic personality was impossible not to love, and want to be around.

"this is the lot i have been given", she said to me one day after treatment. "i can bury my head in my knees and give up, or i can fight"

and fight she did.

for six weeks she endured radiation. for six weeks we walked to subway, discovered an incredible breakfast spot a few blocks away, went for coffee, sat outside in a beautiful garden, played crib on a gigantic crib board, and celebrated her completion of treatment by enjoying a nice dinner at the keg with her friends, all of which i cherished deeply.

i felt an odd sadness when my mom had finished radiation because i knew that our time together would come to an end. she headed back to alliston where she lived at the time, and i stayed here in the GTA, car-less.

when she came back for appointments, however, we met at our favourite diner for breakfast and talked about life, and when we couldn't, we'd text, talk on the phone, or skype.

a few months later, once the scans showed no sign of cancer, she moved to ottawa like she had always wanted to, and though i couldn't help but be happy for her, i felt a void in my life knowing she was now five hours away, instead of just a little over one.

but little did i know then, i would be spending more time with her in the next coming months then i had in years.

you see, just over a month later, her cancer came back full force, and a few short months later, it was labelled terminal.

i ended up taking the trek to ottawa every two weeks at that point. the first trip, we made crazy memories at walmart with her scooter and a few funny hats. the next, i stayed with her for a week while my sister and brother in law went on a much needed vacation. she wasn't feeling the greatest then, so we spent a lot of time watching wheel of fortune, family feud, and jeopardy like we did in the good ole days before i had to become an adult, but it was nice, and it was ours; i was happy to be able to spend some alone time with her.

fast forward to a few weeks later when i got the scariest call of my life three days shy of my next planned trip [see previous blogs]. thankfully, the doctors were wrong; my mom ended up making it, and i ended up getting to spend an extra week with her. granted, it was in a hospital room, but we spent time together none the less.

and then again during her last waking moments in february.

would i change her diagnosis and the outcome if i could? in a heartbeat. but if my mom taught me one thing about life by the way she lived hers, it's this: there's always good we can cling to. always. and for me right now, the good just happens to be the fact that this dumb and horrible disease brought my mom and i closer.

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