Through My Eyes
Everyone has had bad experiences in their lives; this is the story of mine. I have a dad, Mom, and an older sister, Lindsay. My family has had their ups and downs, but there's one situation that can't compare to any of them. It was when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. I never really told anyone how I actually felt about this, so I am taking this opportunity to tell.
It all started on January 12, 2000, the beginning of the New Year. It was a new millennium, which meant a new start. There were promising advertisements that this year would be the best. That afternoon I didn't realize anything was wrong. I was told by my mom that she had a bad doctor's appointment; I confronted my sister with this comment and she said everything was fine. Little did I know that I was about to get news that would change my life.
I was upstairs watching television later that afternoon when my mom and dad came up from downstairs with terrified books on their faces. I remember exactly what was said. My mom said, "Cassandra, I'm sorry but I have breast cancer". I looked almost straight into my mother's eyes because I was almost the same height and I realized that she would be different. Her blond hair wouldn't be there soon and she would be more tired than ever, and then I just broke down crying. Questions buzzed around my head. Why my mom? Why my family? The room felt like it was spinning around. I looked at Lindsay who was usually an outgoing 17-year-old with curly hair, who looked like she would never talk again. Then I looked at my dad, whom I have never seen cry that much in my life, who had tears dripping down his face. My mom hugged me, trying to comfort me, but nothing could ease the pain I was feeling inside.
The next few days, the only thing I seemed to be doing was crying and trying to act happy so my mom wouldn't be said. I felt like my world was a puzzle that was impossible to put together. In school, my grades fell little by little, nothing too extreme, but still a little bad. I didn't seem to think anymore; I didn't care about anything else but my mom.
Then it was time for my mom's surgery. It was one of the worst experiences of my life. We woke up early on January 19th. At about 6:00 AM, we were on our way to Nyack Hospital in Rockland County. After we signed my mom in, we went to her room. The nurses were on strike, so things weren't moving too smoothly. I made countless trips to the cafeteria trying to block out my thoughts. Then, my mom finally had her surgery at 3 o'clock, eight hours after the surgery was originally scheduled. I never realized how hard it was going to be.
While the nurses were pushing the bed that my mom was in, I saw her crying. I wiped her tears away, but they kept on coming. I too started to cry. At that moment, I was so afraid I would feel this horrible and alone for the rest of my life. Soon we came to a large operating room. One of the nurses told us that we had to leave. I thought, "What? You can't tell me to leave my mother; no one can take her away from me". I knew I had to leave, so I told my mom that everything was going to be OK. I think I was reassuring myself more than her. Then I did the hardest thing -- I left the room.
It seemed like hours before the operation ended. Then my mom's surgeon came out and told us we could see her. I think that he brought us in too soon. My mom had just awoken from the anesthesia and she looked at us as if she had never seen us in her life. She told my dad that she wanted to go home. She said that she was hurting a lot. I couldn't handle it, so my sister took me out of the room. After that, we went my grandpa's house for dinner
After dinner, we went back to hospital. My mom opened her eyes and smiled when she saw us. I couldn't hug her because of the surgery. Lindsay and I went to the cafeteria to get an ice pop because my mom didn't like the food that was being served. We had to feed it to her because she could barely move. I hated that -- I had always seen my mom do pretty much everything herself, and now all of a sudden I was feeding her. We talked to her for about an hour. It was getting late and we went back to my grandpa's house to sleep.
That night it was very difficult to get to sleep. I kept on seeing my mom in the hospital bed, helpless. I hated thinking of her all alone and hated the fact that I would live with all these memories forever.
The next morning I was so happy. We were going to pick up my mom from the hospital to take her home! I didn't really get to talk to her, because she fell asleep about 20 minutes after she got in the car. I didn't care about that -- I was just really glad we could leave the hospital.
For the next week, my Aunt Janet came to help take care of my mom. One really bad thing happened though. Lindsay got in a car accident on her way home from work. I was really mad at God. I know that he never really gives you too much, but everything seemed to be going wrong. Even after all those endless nights of praying and asking him to watch over my family, it didn't seem to end. Lindsay was a wreck, even though the car accident wasn't her fault. I think maybe she was crying so much because she had been holding in all those tears from when she first found out that mom had cancer.
A few weeks after the surgery, my mom had to begin chemotherapy. The doctor said her hair would fall out, and I was heartbroken. One day I remember finding a lot of hair in the garbage can. Her hair was falling out quickly. Then my mom called my Aunt Sharon to cut some of it. I guess it is frustrating when your hair comes out every time you brush it. We went to the Cancer Center at the hospital to buy a wig and nightcap. My mom decided to wear a wig because she works at a school. She didn't want the other kids to see her without any hair.
The winter passed by quickly and then came the summer. That summer we didn't even go on vacation because my mom had radiation every day except for Saturday and Sunday. I really didn't like it. Not just because we had no vacation, but because my mom had to go for radiation treatment every day. When we finally did go on vacation and even now, my mom can't say in the sun because lymph nodes were taken out during the surgery and that is how your sweat drains. Yes, I know it sounds a little disgusting, but how would you feel if that were you?
After all this, I think my family can face anything. My mom is my hero! She
is the bravest person I know and through it all, she has two jobs and she
still makes time for her family. It's been about two years since this happened.
I know this sounds weird, but I think there is an angel watching over my family.
Remember, God never gives you more than you can handle.