Monday, May 10, 2010

A Mother's Day Tribute

I am forever shocked by people who tell me I inspire them, my response is usually "then you should meet my Mom!"

Mom was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000. She underwent surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. She, unlike me, got very very nauseous and sick with each chemo session. Most days she barley had enough energy to get out of bed. Dad got her through. He helped her as much as possible, and softly coached her to get out of bed each day with different promises, a beautiful sunrise, a ride in the convertible, the first glimpse of a jukebox he had finished restoring. Little by little he gave her the courage to get through each day.

Three years later she got the chance to repay him. The roles reversed and it was Mom encouraging Dad to get out of bed to see the sunrise, go for a ride in the '57 Chevy, or go get a banana split. She did this through 3 solid years of his chemo. She was his biggest fan, his nurse, his love, his cook, and his partner in life. My parents have a love that I have never seen duplicated. They lived through both good and bad times, and each day the love they had for each other seemed to grow deeper.

Mom's cancer came back in 2007. This time she would have to endure a painful surgery that removed skin off of her back to help reconstruct the full mastectomy they were going to do. Dad had chemo the day before, but he was determined to be there for her, so I had planned to go and sit with him, to make sure he was ok. Two hours before her surgery I got the call that I had cancer. I sat with Dad that day and never mentioned it. Mom made it through the surgery and was kept at the hospital for 3 days. She hated to be away from Dad for that many days and fought with them to get them to release her sooner. She was home that Sunday, and Brad and I rode out to help her get settled. One of the hardest things I've ever had to do was tell both my parents, who were also going through cancer treatments of there own, that I too, had cancer.

A few weeks later I had my surgery, Dad was too weak to come to the hospital, so my girlfriend Melissa drove down from New York, picked up Mom and drove her up to the hospital to be with me. Mom was there for my surgery, and even brought me food and treats for after. She was there with Brad supporting him while they all waited. A few weeks later, still with stitches from her own surgery, numerous appointments for her own treatments and her daughter preparing for chemotherapy, the love of her life lost his battle. This is when I knew my Mom had guts. This is where she taught me that sheer will, determination, and faith can and will get you through anything.

The next few months were a living hell for her. She still had treatments, she was in immense pain, and she had lost the most important person in her life. Yet she remained positive most days, she worked at keeping it all together, and she showed up for life. She taught me so much in life, but the way she was able to endure having cancer, loosing her husband, and still was able to be there for me as a Mom taught me how tuff she was.

In the past year Mom has really impressed me with everything she's taken on. She's travelled both internationally and domestically. She's gotten into great shape and shed pounds by joining a gym and changing her eating habits. She's lowered her cholesterol and her blood pressure by eating better. She is healthy and positive, volunteers at church and in her community and has emense hope and faith for her future.

My Mom is tuff as nails, my Mom is my hero.

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