By: Kyle Roper
My mom has had cancer since the age that I could last remember. She was diagnosed with breast cancer on April 14, 2007. That day changed the rest of my life, forever. I never would blame it on my mom, or anyone else. I feel as if most people in my situation would have become depressed or started falling behind in school, but I didn’t. I actually started counseling and that started the spiral down to what I believe where I really began hurting people around me for several years, until my life took a turn. A major incident happened and it changed my ideals and morals on everything.
It all started on one sunny afternoon, my younger brother and I was walking home as if it were a normal day like any other. As soon as we took a step over the threshold, I felt the air turn icy, thin, I knew something was up. I could hear the distant cry of my mother, as my dad shut the door to their room and hurriedly pulled us into our living room. I was really just thinking somebody had passed away, that was until I saw the fear that ran across his face. He sat us down, I didn’t understand the hurry to hide us from what was going on at such a young age. All I knew to do was be just as frightened as my father. My father was a cold, hard man, he had a loving heart but I myself had never seen him cry once. At the moment I knew this wasn’t just another old funeral that I never quite understood going to. This memory is so vivid and surreal to me, I remember every word my father said to me as he explained what was going on.
He took hold of our hands in his. This was so odd to me, my father had never been a very affectionate person. All I remember thinking at this point was why is this day so freaking weird. Our father held our hands and explained that our mother was very sick, and that we should never let her drink after us, because it could make her even more sick. At the age of 7, I didn’t really think too hard about it and just blew it off the top of my head. About a week or two later she started chemo, which all I knew is it was some medicine that was suppose to help my mom. I didn’t know much about cancer at this point, but I did know she could have died from this. This so called medicine, chemo, scared me as a child. Everything that I saw it only made her more sick, she never got up out of bed, she started losing her hair, and she was always throwing up.
The chemo won the battle over her stage four breast cancer, but being at stage four has a really bad influence. It means that she would be metastatic at a young age of 30. As I aged I began to discover new words and loved going to appointments with my mom. I started looking up these words, feeding my hunger of wanting to know what was going on with my mom. This only made me grow closer to my mother. We now have a very well made bond, that you could not break by any means. I later found out what metastatic meant, and felt the consequences of it when the evil curse came back a couple of years later.
This is about the time my parents took up the offer of free counseling at my elementary school, when I just entered the fourth grade. This is what began my rampage of hate. Not that I disliked the counselor, but I am a very stubborn person. I found this out at a young age, and I hate talking about my problems, even till this day I refuse to talk to anyone about my mother. I’m not sure if I just don’t like unloading my problems or if I am just a very excluded person when it comes to my problems. I was only ever rude to my parents, brother, and friends. The three types of people I should never have been rude to. They were always just trying to help, but I hated every second of it. I don’t like feeling sorry for myself, but that is what I felt they were forcing down on me. I hated it so much, I even hated the super sweet people that brought us cooked meals, it just felt like everyone was bracing themselves for death and loss and I was just being dragged down with it by chains from hell.
My mother, of course, thrived through more rounds of chemo. It took her down as if she was just a weightless punching bag again, again, and again. We had to shave her head for a second time, after she had spent so long trying to growing it back. The hair always seemed the hardest part to lose when it came to the toxic drug. She has always been a very outgoing, spontaneous, and fun mother. This is what caused her to be named scooter girl by all the hospital staff on the ICU floor.
My brother and I were out riding our scooters one early morning, waiting on our mom to come out from getting ready to take us to school. I was showing my brother how to drift on the declining driveway, as my mother stepped out. She always loved a challenge, so I challenged her to try this new little trick, and of course she accepted as I predicted she would. Till this day I blame myself for what happened next. She was doing great, till she got about halfway down the old driveway. Then she lost her balance, and fell right on top of the black scooter handle. Instead of falling flat it stood erect and her gut landed upon the tip of it. I thought this was so funny that she fell. But she wasn’t getting up, I have never felt all my inner organs drop below my feet so hard. My expression changed immediately 5 seconds after the incident. I ran to her side and asked if everything was okay, and was screaming at her to get up. Luckily, my neighbor came home all within the same minute that seemed to stretch for an hour. He parked in our driveway and quickly loaded my mother into his vehicle after figuring out what had happened. Our mother told us just to get on the bus and go to school, that she would be fine. They drove off, I know she said she would be fine so my brother and I would feel safe. It did not help one bit.
I got to school holding everything in, and not telling anyone and waited several hours. I asked my teacher to go and call my father, and she allowed me out in the middle of class of 6th grade year. I hurriedly dialed my father and asked what was going on. He proceeded to tell me they took and x-ray and that she had just broken two ribs. But that is when it hit me, I stayed strong all morning till the relief finally hit me and I knew she would be ok. I immediately just broke down in tears of joy, which I never thought was possible, but I accepted them happily and let it all out. I come home later that day with my brother to find my grandmother. This puzzled me, as I began my approach inside. It turned out my mother really had broken two ribs, but what my father had failed to tell me was that one of the ribs lacerated two thirds of her liver. She had just gotten out of surgery and was put into ICU for post-op.
The doctors thought there was no way she could make it out alive, I was never told this until after she recovered. My grandmother went and stayed with my mother the first night, so my father could get some rest after a long day. As soon as my father saw me, he broke down into tears in front of me for the second time in my life. I just hugged and held my father as he cried into my shoulder, and told him everything would be ok. I went to see my mother the next day, there was tube going in and out of just about anywhere they could stick her. This was really freaky to me at first, especially since hospitals have always scared me.
This is the incident that changed me forever. I began watching my mother get better day by day. I watched the nurses do their job, as they checked on her constantly and did their best to nurse her back to health through the doctor’s orders. I loved watching them work, this was such an odd and stressed experience, but this is how I found my calling. I always loved helping people, and I felt this was the perfect way for me to do as such. From that day forward my goal has always been to become a nurse and heal people, like those nurses did my mother. This incident not only gave me a goal in life, but also a reason to cherish what I have, while I have it. I realized anything can be taken away in the snap of fingers. I have been constantly surrounded by medical appointments and hospitals from my mom for my entire life. I believe this is what called me to want in the medical field, and my mother is the reason I love to help people. I have grown so close to her, and she is the sweetest person alive. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without her. She helped me grow as a person, even with her sickening cancer. She is my world, and will always be in my heart for the rest of my life as a constant reminder of why I chose this life.
By: Kyle Roper