My Mom: Riding in the Sidecar

It’s the greatest week of the year at Boston Bakes for Breast Cancer – the week where restaurants, bakeries and local businesses alike all come together for a great cause and donate their time and money and, of course, their desserts! This wonderful week culminates on Mother’s Day. I will be sure to include some ‘Baked for Breast Cancer’ dessert for my mom this year.

When I think of my cancer treatment as a journey, I picture myself riding a motorcycle with my mom in the sidecar. We are both wearing sunglasses and do’ rags in my imagined fantasy, both our hair blowing in the wind. It’s the best analogy I have for my treatment. My mother was with me every step of the way. She was the first person I called after my diagnosis. She came to every dr. appointment, every test, and every surgery. She slept on my couch for days after treatments. She checked/dressed my wounds and helped me shower. She did my dishes, laundry and made my bed. She researched every side effect I was afraid to read about.

She also listened when I told her how treatment made me feel, how having cancer was changing me and I felt powerless to stop it. She acted as a translator for the rest of my family when they could not understand how I was feeling and vice versa. Even now when I go back for regular check-ups, each of my oncologists asks me how my mother is doing. We were a team.

I cannot imagine how difficult it is to see your child, at any age, go through treatment for cancer. My mom never showed a weakness. She showed up, coffee in hand, taking the day off from work, every single time I needed her. It changed the dynamic of our relationship, for me anyway. I don’t think I truly realized how far she was willing to go for me.

One of the most memorable experiences was after a particular chemo infusion. It was about 3am by the time I finished my infusion (I had an allergy to the meds and needed to get them slowly over a 12-hr period). The dr. on call wanted me to stay a couple of extra hours so he could monitor me and I wanted to go home immediately instead. I finally convinced the dr. that I was feeling fine and was OK to go home. I said that I wanted to start feeling crappy – which was inevitable – in my own bed. The dr. cleared me to get up and get dressed. When he left the room for a moment, I confessed to my mother that I was too weak to stand. Her face registered my panic. We had to figure out how to dress me and get me looking OK before he came back with the wheelchair. I think of it as the day my mom helped break me out of the hospital. We did make it out just fine. I am forever grateful to my mother for this and so many other moments.

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!

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