When I was first told she had a brain tumor, I hoped it was benign. When I learned it was cancer, I hoped it hadn't spread from another source. When I learned it had spread from another source, I hoped it wouldn't at least be from multiple multiple sources. And then of course, it was.
Back then, I couldn't think about, let alone talk about, Mom without crying. Now, I smile when someone asks me how she's doing, and happily update them. How did this happen?
I've identified two reasons: the love and support of my friends/husband and applying Mom's upbeat attitude to the situation. I learned this perspective from Mom, because it is how she is responding to the illness. She is still teaching me, all these years later, how to be a woman with grace. And the very best teacher leads by example.
Back then, I worried she wouldn't be able to enjoy our wedding. And here she is, all this time later, still going strong. Yes, she has side effects too numerous to list and has even lost the sight in one eye for unknown reasons but she is still...Mom. She is still the same happy, optimistic woman I have looked up to all my life. The fact that she has remained cheerful, gracious, sweet, kind and funny in the face of the monster that is cancer is a true testament to just how strong and unwavering her core personality is.
How can I feel sorry for myself when she's not sitting around feeling sorry for herself? Don't get me wrong, we all have our days and I'm sure Mom must too, though she protects me from it if she does. Living with this isn't easy for any of us, and it's something I would not wish on my worst enemy. But, it's here. And so now, it's about what we do with it; what we make of this time.
|Bring you parents to work day!|
So, Mom's attitude has shaped me and then there's the friends. Just how much I rely on them was very apparent yesterday. My massage therapist Rebekah contacted me through facebook a few weeks ago, and wanted to pay it forward by donating six massages to my Mom. Dad brought Mom to my work after school got out, and I we drove to her massage.
|Dr. Dadivas and Rebekah|
Newport Beach Wellness
After the massage, Mom said she felt like a "new woman" and it was time for the annual dinner with my Birthday twin, Monet, and all the girls. We went to the same location last year, but Mom lived in Yucaipa back then and I didn't bring her. Not wanting to feel like a "fifth wheel" Mom asked if I was sure it was alright that she tagged along. "Mom, it's a girl's night! You're a part of the group now, and they want to see you!" I said this, because it's true. The ask how she is doing on a regular basis, and claim to also draw inspiration from her.