I believe my mom will beat cancer….again. Those renegade cells, that monster, like a spider growing and writhing in the bed of her lymph nodes, they don’t stand a chance. They don’t stand a chance because my mother has been through it all before. The first time, she accepted it. She had to. She told herself, it was nature running its course.
This second time, though, isn’t about acceptance. It’s about anger. And my mother is pissed.
When she was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001, I was a freshman in college. I was away from home and my father flew to see me, flew to tell me that my mom was sick. I didn’t believe it would, like my father said, “all be OK.” I only believed in the mass, in the lump within her breast, rising and falling and rising again each time she breathed. I believed in fear…and death.
It was my mother who was the non-believer. She never believed she was sick, she never acknowledged the “C” word; she let the doctors treat her; she let the hair fall strand by strand from her head; for all my dad and brother and I knew, she was never upset because we never saw her cry.
And after rounds of chemo treatment and sweaty wigs that wouldn’t stay in place and a drawer full of scarves and baseball hats, the docs gave us the thumbs up. My mother was in remission.
It’s been six years. And then one morning this March she woke up with a pain in her shoulder. A biopsy and a port in her chest and another round of chemo later and we were all riding the roller coaster again. But this time, I have to believe that my mother will be ok. Doctors say that the more angry a patient, the more upset, the more passionate, the better their chances of recovery.
My mother sits in the treatment center with all the other chemo patients, and she is seething. She is pissed off. She is mad. God damn, she thinks, I’m going to kill this thing.
I have to believe she will kill this thing.
Because my mother is pissed and that spider, growing and writhing in the bed of her lymph nodes, doesn’t stand a chance.
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