This I Believe

Cody - Plum City, Wisconsin
Entered on December 18, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: carpe diem

Live for Today Because we are Never Promised Tomorrow

I believe that everyone should live for today because we are never promised tomorrow. Everyone has heard this saying several times in their life including me, but I never really took it to heart until I was faced with the hardest situation I have ever had to deal with in my life. Last year my mom passed away after a courageous ten year battle with brain cancer.

She was diagnosed for the first time in 1996 and underwent surgery and radiation therapy to fight it. At this time I was only eight years old, and I knew that something was not right, but I couldn’t really comprehend what was going on. I just knew that my mom was sick. The location of the tumors made it impossible for the doctors to remove both of them in one piece, so there was always going to be something there. Even knowing everyday, that there was something in her body that was eventually going to take her physically away from my family, she went on with life living for the current day, never knowing if she would make it to the next. Then I didn’t understand how courageous my mom actually was for fighting the way she did.

My mom was never cancer free, because for several years, the remains of the original tumors were there, never to be gone completely. Little did I know that in 2004 she would be told that there were more spots on her brain, and she would have to repeat surgery, and this time complete several rounds of chemotherapy. She was so strong throughout the whole round of treatments showing me that when something bad comes my way to appreciate what you have for the current day, because you never know if you will have tomorrow. I remember at this time asking her what chemotherapy felt like, and she replied “Imagine that your body has been hit by a truck, now times that by a 1000.” I didn’t even know how to respond, because I couldn’t even begin to imagine how that felt. I would never understand, with the pain of treatment being so extreme, how she could take it another day, just to get through tomorrow. She again went on with her normal life keeping my five siblings and me on track with school, sports, and work. She also kept herself busy with cooking meals for us, cleaning the house, doing the laundry, and spending time with us. Never once did she complain about how she was feeling. This time not much came as a surprise to her as she had been through all of it once before. She had fought this down again, so that it was just stable. As long as the tumors weren’t growing there wasn’t as much stress on her brain, and things were almost normal.

I wish that “third times a charm” would have worked against my mom’s cancer, but sadly I can’t say it did. My mom was told again in the winter of 2006 that the cancer had come back strong this time, but she didn’t give up. She tried treatment, starting with chemotherapy, and after discovering that it wasn’t responding, she decided there wasn’t much else she could do. She decided to abort treatment, and the doctors pronounced her terminally ill. This day I felt worse than I ever had in my whole life, but this was when I really started living for today, because I didn’t know when my last day would be with my mom. It felt like someone took a knife and stabbed me in the chest. I was so taken back and scared that I didn’t know how much longer my mom would actually be around. Although my mom decided not to try any other form of treatment, she never gave up. She was given six weeks to live and she ended up fighting it for another four months. In this time we had several visits from family members and friends offering support to my family in our time of need. It was really nice to have my mom’s family and friends around. Everyone was there for me, through it all. I was really upset that she had to go, but this was when I realized I have learned the most important lesson of my life through her- to live for today, because we are never promised tomorrow.