This I Believe

Kellie - Carrolltown, Pennsylvania
Entered on February 19, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

Mom’s cancer was a long time ago. I might have been seven when it started. I don’t remember it very much.

Her cancer never affected my little sister and me. I remember driving to a couple doctor’s appointments. I remember surgeries and hospital visits, but not much about them, just that they happened. I grew up normal. I went to basketball practice and ballet. I did my homework and I went to sleepovers.

Mom’s cancer was cured by the time I was ten. She had had two mastectomies and a series of reconstructive surgeries. It happened, and then it was over. That’s all I remembered about Mom’s cancer.

I am nineteen now. Mom and I talk a lot. One time, we talked about the cancer. It wasn’t a long conversation, but she talked about a time when I was eleven- a year after she was cured. When I was eleven, Mom took us to a concert. My little sister was so excited to see her favorite band, and I was excited to see her so happy. So was Mom. She told me this recently. She also told me things about the cancer, things I didn’t know.

Mom took us to the concert because she wanted us to remember it. She wanted us to remember her taking us to it. She wanted me and my sister to remember her.

Because Mom thought the cancer wasn’t over. She thought that it had spread to her bones, and that she might not make it this time. At forty-four, the end was suddenly a lot closer than she had pictured it to be.

I enjoyed the concert and Mom went to the doctor a week or so later. They gave her tests. Then she had to wait a few weeks for the results.

To my mom, they said, “Congratulations, you’ll get to see their first dates. You’ll see prom dresses and graduations, weddings and grandchildren. You’ll have Christmases and birthdays because the end is nowhere in sight.”

I think all they really said was “negative.”

I didn’t know any of this at the time. I wish I had, but I hadn’t. Knowing that I could’ve lost her makes it so easy to appreciate her.

This is why I believe in appreciation. I believe in appreciating the things and the people in my life. Not because I could lose them, but because I have them now. I have no control over the past and very little over the future, but I have right now, and right now I’m going to be thankful for everything and every person in my life. Mom’s cancer really didn’t affect me much, but through her remission I have discovered my beliefs.