Lauren McCormick’s Essay

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By: Lauren McCormick

I was ten years, three months, and two weeks old when it happened.  When my mom came rushing out of the bathroom to the computer that morning.  I was sitting I her room, so I saw the look on her face.

I was ten years, three months, and three weeks old when she got the call, “you might want to come in for an x-ray”.  We were in the air and space museum with some friends. I was there with her, so I saw the look on her face.

A week later, she left me with some friends when she went to the appointment.  For a ten-year-old, I understood pretty well: “cancer kills people but not everyone and you might have it but that doesn’t mean you’ll die so don’t worry until we know more.” I was the first person to greet her when she came home, so I saw the look on her face.  

My mom was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer on January 16th, 2012 and was given a sixty percent chance to be alive in five years.  She always told me “if I had a sixty percent chance of winning the lottery, I’d play.”  But when it’s your mother, when it’s your only parent, those odds weren’t exactly comforting.  She always told me that everything would be okay, but even if it wasn’t okay, we would go on trips, do fun things, and take pictures of everything.  I took a picture of her sitting on the end of my bed that moment.

It was hard to understand why she was so tired all the time, the chemo wore her body out, she said.  I felt terrible. Here my mom was spiraling downwards like one of those pennies in the donation bins you see in Walmart.  Going through loops and turns and every which way, but always down, and there was nothing that I could do about it.

That summer was a blur.  I ended up stopping school because my mom couldn’t take it.  Come to think of it, I couldn’t take it either. I couldn’t even go to church without a bunch of strangers stopping me and saying apologetic nothings like: “Oh honey I’m so sorry about your mom,” or, “how’re you and your mom holding up princess?”  They said sorry like it was their fault or something. All the doctors’ appointments, all the chemo infusions, all the houses I had to stay at during those times, it became a lot, for my mom too. So, when she found out about Little Pink Houses of Hope, it was a relief.  A ray of sunshine in a hurricane.

In June, we found out we were accepted into the retreat, and in November, we were in Myrtle Beach.  That week was like a dream. The people we met, the experiences we had, it was all so perfect. At the end of the week, when we pulled out of the campground, my mom turned to me and said, “for the first time, I don’t feel like I have cancer.”  

Yeah, everything was going to be just fine.

I was eleven years, two months and two weeks old when my mom had her double mastectomy.  I was the first person to visit her when she woke up, so I saw the look on her face. She was smiling.

Yeah, everything was just fine.

Even though she was in constant pain, my mom was always a mom to me.  She took care of me, listened to my problems, fed me, without missing a beat.  She helped me with school and planning my future.

I’ve had the same plan since I was ten.  I’m going to go to community college in high-school, get my all of my prerequisites in, then when I’m eighteen, go to nursing school.  When I’m twenty, work as an RN while getting my BSN. Then I’m going to transfer to VCU (hopefully) and go to nurse anesthetist school.  When I’m twenty-six, I’ll graduate.

Without my mom’s help and support, I wouldn’t even know where to begin with my life.  She has taught me so much and has gone above and beyond the call of duty as a mother, and she became my best friend.  Even through cancer, and all of life’s hardships, I would not trade it for the world, because I have never been more inspired by anyone.

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