Mother's Day and dealing with 'that C word'

6 March 2016

Mother's Day - by What Laura did Next

So, today is Mother’s Day and like a lot of people I will be joining in and giving my mum a card and present to celebrate her being an amazing mum.

For me, everyday my mum is totally awesome, and this may sound totally cheesy but I’m proud to call her my mum each day. Here’s one of the reasons why;

I can still remember the day my family and I got the news that was to change our outlook on everything and make us become closer than ever. It was towards the end of September last year - I was sat in my windowless, stuffy office at the NEC in Birmingham working on one of the biggest events of the year and cursing the fact it was only 4pm - I hadn’t had much lunch and dinner time was a long way off as there was still so much to do. I’d been fidgety ALL day waiting for a call from my stepdad when my phone dinged. I opened the text to read the following;

“Yes, it’s cancerous and she will need different types of treatments - probably chemo to shrink it. Apps next week to find out more and to discuss chemo. Please ring when you want to.x”

Now, I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but that was when my whole world felt like it was about to fall down around me. 

Cancer f**king sucks.

I just didn’t (and still can’t) understand. Why my mum? The woman who had bought my brother and I up almost single-handedly for 10 years before my stepdad came into our lives. Who juggled 2 jobs at one time just to make ends meet and keep a roof over our heads, food in our mouths and clothes on our bodies. Looking back, our childhood wasn’t exactly normal, but it could’ve been a hell of a lot worse. But that’s because my mum stayed strong, positive and gave as good as she could when life challenges came at her at full-speed. It can’t have been easy for her but she managed to raise two children who (and yes, I’m totally blowing my own trumpet) have turned out more than alright. 

It's always been “that thing” that happened to other people, to other families. It was scary because I knew it killed people - a couple of months before my own mums diagnosis, I’d attended the funeral of my friends mother who sadly passed away from cancer. It was so heartbreaking to see what my friend was going through, and at the time I remember thinking “I can’t imagine what it would be like to loose one of the most important people in your life” 

It's also “that thing” that I thought would be really hard to deal with. I never really knew how hard until the day I got the text from my stepdad. Now it was my families turn and I can truly say it turned my whole family upside down for a good while. 

One thing I have noticed, is that the word Cancer still seems to be such a ‘taboo’ word - I find people almost whispering it when you’re having a conversation with them (I have to say I was guilty of doing this at the beginning!) For a while I didn’t really tell anyone that my mum had cancer, and I look back at this and can’t help but think why? Almost every friend/colleague/taxi driver I’ve mentioned it to, has experienced it in one way or another - from a relative having it, to them even being diagnosed. It shouldn’t be something we’re scared to talk about as very sadly, it’s such a common illness. 

My hero during this time has been my wonderful stepdad, who has been looking after my mum every single day, and picking us all up off the ground when we’ve had a little ‘moment’. Closely followed my future husband, James who has put up with my erratic behaviour and sleepless nights.

My mum has been a real inspiration through all of this. She’s never moaned, is always checking up on my brother and I and still insists on cleaning the house - even when she’s not having a good day. She’s lost her hair and eyelashes, and so much weight. For any woman your hair is your identity so loosing it can be really distressing. But my mum went out as soon as her hair started going, and got two wigs which were styled just like her hair - she even got them to put in some highlights! She’s still got a long way to go but her positivity and outlook on it all has been totally amazing, which I fully believe has helped her go through this all.

Now, I don’t want people to think I’m posting this because I want sympathy - f**k that! I just wanted to let all my lovely readers know what is going on in my life, and to also try and help others that may be going through this as well. Yes, this could be seen as something too personal for the internet but, as I’ve said before - Cancer is such a common thing nowadays, and instead of hiding away from it I’ve decided to stand up to it and write about my experience on it. 

Lastly, a HUGE HUGE shout out to all the consultants, nurses, radiographers, Doctors, Junior Doctors and Macmillan staff who have been totally awesome throughout this, and still continue to do so now - I count our blessing each day that we have such an amazing NHS. My mum still has a long way to go and, I honestly think it could be a totally different story I’m telling if it wasn’t for the people I’ve mentioned here. 

I feel very lucky to have my mum around when so many others have lost theirs - big love to all of you today. Happy Mother’s Day to all the mums out there x

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