National Cancer Survivors Day 2019

Most of us have been touched by cancer in one way or another. It’s a horrific disease that steals from those it affects. There are several people in our family we have lost to cancer - may they rest in peace. Then there are two immediate family members who have beat the disease - my husband, Aaron, beat Testicular Cancer twice, and my mom, Linda, beat Lymphoma twice. They are both super-bada$$es in my opinion!

I don’t think I realized the impact my mom’s cancer had on me while it was going on. I believe I was only four years old when she was diagnosed and my little sister, Kelly, was only two. I do recall going to many doctor’s appointments with my mom - some of which I now know were her chemotherapy appointments. My mom was a stay-at-home-mom and we lived in Texas with no family close by, so she had no other choice but to take my sister and me with her.

I didn’t realize at the time that her loss of hair and her wigs stood for something much more than what my little four or five year old brain could fathom. I didn’t realize that this awful disease that was attacking her body could result in the loss of my mom.

I can remember the moment vividly when I finally realized just how blessed we were that my mom beat cancer. I believe that my dad, sister, and I were driving on a road trip across Ohio - most likely from Cambridge to Parma, or vice versa. We lived in New Jersey at the time, but it was summer and we were visiting family in Ohio. My dad had a little orange Honda Civic hatchback - I believe it was a 1976. It was hot and humid outside. The car had no air conditioning - the windows were rolled down and my sister and I were both trying to keep our very long hair from getting tangled. Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born in the USA’ and ‘Glory Days’ was blaring from the radio speakers. We stopped for gas and I don’t know what made me think of my mom and her cancer, but it was like all of a sudden I had a realization come over me. That realization was that she could have died. I don’t think that had really ever occurred to me before that moment. I also realized that not only could cancer have stolen my mom from us, but our lives would have been very different. It was at that moment that I realized just how blessed we were to have my mom still with us. Love you, Mom!