Fighting Cancer Together
Almost exactly a year before my diagnosis, my mom called me on Sunday afternoon and delivered the worst news imaginable. “They found cancer.” She had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer. It was absolutely devastating. My mom is my rock, and to think of her having cancer just felt wrong. And try as I might, I still had to wonder if the disease would kill her. Thankfully, my mom is now doing well after having her thyroid removed, but she still has a medical team carefully monitoring her situation just to be sure.
Her knowledge as a nurse was a blessing and a curse
We often talked about how strange it must have been for her to be a cancer patient, while also being a nurse. She often explained that although it was easier at times to understand the terminologies and procedures due to her medical background, it was also very difficult to know the exact realities of her situation. Fast forward a year later and I’m the one making the call to tell her the doctors had found cancer. Now, my mom had to wear the hats of cancer patient, nurse, and caregiver all at once.
Having my mom as my advocate
Although I wish my mom had never experienced cancer, her knowledge as a nurse and experiences as a cancer patient were a HUGE reason why I was able to navigate my very scary ordeal. From her cancer battle, she was able to tell me what procedures and surgery would be like, she helped me schedule medications so I would keep my symptoms under control, and she even knew the best food/drinks to have on hand during recovery. As a medical professional, she was my translator and advocate when I didn’t understand what the doctors were saying or wasn’t able to fight for myself. Her nursing knowledge gave her the ability to ask the right questions and help me navigate the initial part of my cancer journey.
Our experiences brought us even closer
Now that the dust has settled and I am in the maintenance phase of my cancer battle, it has actually become entertaining having a mom who has lived this journey as well. We share stories, complain about the same things, and just generally understand each other better. Having someone in my life who knows EXACTLY what I’m going through has been both comforting and validating. We were always close before my diagnosis, but the shared journeys we’ve taken have definitely brought us even closer.
Have you felt misunderstood as a person living with bladder cancer?