The other night at Relay I was asked to speak during the Fight Back ceremony. During that speech I made the comment that when I hear the term cancer victim, I think of death. When I hear cancer patient, I think of someone who is sick and weak. I prefer to be called a Cancer Warrior and choose to fight like one because it's the only way to win this battle. I acknowledged that when I was diagnosed at age 15 with Hodgkin's it wasn't really my diagnosis. It was my Mom's. She was more affected by the cancer than I was. I know that seems strange to some people, but it's true. I hardly remember the experience of it, but she can tell you things in such great detail and with tears in her eyes still to this day 25 years later. It would have been fine with me to miss school and stay home, but Mom never allowed it. Once I was physically healed from the surgeries, it was back to school for me. I remember the countless hours she spent on the phone researching doctors, trying to find out as much as possible about treatment (you have to remember we didn't have computers yet and google wasn't even a name). mom never allowed me to feel sorry for myself. She treated me like a 15 year old, not a 15 year old with cancer. It wasn't becausee she didn't love me, or didn't feel sorry for me. In fact that's exactly why she treated me the way she did. She knew that by keeping me active, in school, and with my friends that I wouldn't have time to be depressed or miss out on things. She knew if I stayed in the bed that I would eventually begin to think like I was sick and would fill with worry. Mom made me a cancer warrior and she promised me then that I was going to be just fine. She was so right. Now that I am a grown woman with my own kids. I finally 'get it". Back then I didn't have any responsibilities. No bills, no job. Now, I can see how much of a burden financially and emotionally this cancer can be. I try and protect my children from all of the negative stuff. They don't need to know everything. I even try and protect Mom as much as possible, but she usually sees right through me. She is still there for me and encouraging me to get up and walk around when I've been in bed for 3 days. Before my first treatment she insisted that she get me a recliner so I wouldn't be in bed all the time. She gives me pep talks and tells me that she just knows that I am being healed. Once again showing me that to fight is to win. I honestly don't know what I would do without her right now. She is such an incredible force in my life. I have never respected anyone more. No matter what I do in my own life, I try to make her proud. I am proud of her and I know that it's hard this time around for her because she has to share me with Wayne and the kids and sometimes even my friends. If it were possible she would be with me 24/7 and I appreciate that so much. She knows I am not her little girl anymore and I can't crawl up in her lap so she can rock me back and forth and tell me it's gonna be alright. But, a few weeks ago she came over because she knew I was not feeling well and my back was hurting. She and Pop surprised me, and as soon as she walked in I made her sit on the sofa and I laid across her lap so she could rub my back. Her hands immediately went to where I was in pain and she began to ease it with just her touch. I know she was so happy at that moment because it was a confirmation that I still need her and I do. Mother's Day is this coming Sunday and we will have the families over to cook and hang out. She loves when we can all be together, even though it sometimes drives me crazy. But I do it for her, to see her smile and enjoy her day means the world to me.
Those who are lucky enough to have their Mom still with them should really take a long look atyour relationship. So many of my friends don't share th esame type of relationship with their Mother's and I am saddened by this. We should talk to our Mom everyday, and we should say I love you. But mostly thank them, not just on Mother's Day but always thank them for loving us. Those of us who are Mother's know, there is no love greater than the love of a Mother for her child. I know that if she were able to she would gladly trade places with me instantly. I know that the moment Doc said cancer, she asked God to take it our of my body and put it in hers. That is true love. I would do the same for my child, just like you would, but to know I am loved that much by her just makes me feel so blessed. I am who I am today because of her love, and I am fighting every daybecasue she wouldn't have it any other way. MOM - I love you and thank you for being there for me. Always your little girl - Ellen