Race for life – my story

Just taking a break from Candy Crush (which does not happen often, as I am addicted) to write a blog post about something which affects my day to day life.

5 letters. 4 everyone. 3 consonants. 2 vowels. 1 tragic event. Yes, death. It is a subject tend to be avoided because it normally brings the mood down and results in tears, but sometimes it is a conversation which is needed to avoid bottling it all in.. which I am going to do in a few moments.

Being a kid I never thought about death, well who does. I mean you are in school having fun and the biggest worry for you is getting home on time to watch your favourite programme. I mean for me I was covered in cotton bud throughout my younger years, which is fine, it made me have the best childhood I could ask for, but yet again when the worst came, which did happen for me, then I believe it made everything a whole lot worse.

I was in my last year of primary school, aged 11. I was looking forward to secondary school. I had a beautiful mum and dad, brother and my first family pet, Tigger the dog. Things could not be better. I came 4th in the regional Irish Dancing contest for my age and I started grading for Piano. I had everything I could ever want and dream of. Christmas of 2004 past, and the new year started. It was a great Christmas, all I ever asked for was my family to be happy and together, which did happen. Everything seemed to be going well, I got into a good Secondary school and my parents were proud of me, I thought nothing could stop this high. Unfortunately, the new year brought this high to a stop one January morning..

I was in my bedroom probably playing with barbie dolls when my dad called me into my Mum’s room. She was in bed, which I thought was normal as it was a Sunday morning, so I thought she was having a lie in. All my family were in the room with her, I just thought they wanted me to do a chore , but as soon as I walked into the room I knew something was not right at all. My mum’s face said it all. I sat down next to her and demanded to know what was going on. It took them a few minutes to announce the shocking news which tore my world apart. “I have cancer.”

Cancer? I never really understood the term Cancer, it wasn’t really educated like it is nowadays. I thought it was a cold or something, but then I realised it was more serious than that. I ran into my room and broke down in tears cuddling my favourite teddy bears. I did not want to know anymore. I locked myself in my room and just hoped this was all a big dream. I waited for the news to go, but it was still bright and clear. Later, I understood that all my family knew apart from me, which made me mad, but I suppose they wanted me to have a good Christmas, which would be the last as a whole family, so for that I  am forever grateful.

So then I changed my whole persona. I mean from that night I started to pray, mostly for my mum and then for my family. Each night without fail I would go by my window and prayed to God that everything will be okay, as I thought if I was good and prayed then everything would be okay. I thought it would  make my family happy again.

Months past and my mum had her good days and her bad days, but she would always be the best mum I could ever ask for. When her hair started to fall out it broke her heart. She always wanted long hair, just like mine, so I know it was hard for her to get through. In no time at all, she embraced it and decided to wear wigs, which actually looked like her normal hairstyle. It was like my mum was her normal self again; fit and well. I also used to wear a wig out with her so she did not feel upset or paranoid and she loved it. We used to joke around about it because mine had a bandanna and purple plaits and I looked like a rock star. I did everything that made her feel a little happier so she did not think about the big ‘C’, even if it was for a second.

The treatment got more powerful and made her unwell and some days she could not even get out of bed, which at first was hard for me to understand, but I knew this meant it was working and for me I thought it meant that she was getting better. I would go with her to Charing Cross Hospital for hours whilst she had Chemotherapy for the entire day, it was horrible seeing all these things go into her body. I stayed strong for her and take our minds of it by doing crosswords and having lunch with her. All the family helped, and at that point she really did realise how much she was loved, which was the best thing of all.

This process lasted a year or so, but by the end of the dose, it was decided that she would have her breast removed – a big step for a woman, but she did not hesitate and went for surgery. After recovering in hospital for a few days she was home and things were getting better. Yes, there were times when I could hear her cry to my dad, but once she got a prosthetic breast she felt more confident and you could never tell that she had an operation. We went on holiday as a family and she was going outside a lot more and enjoying the sunshine, which she loved. It seemed like everything was getting better and she was getting back to herself again.. well that’s what I thought…

I was in my second year of secondary school and I was on my way home from school. You know when you get an instinct that something is not right, well I got this on that particular day. So, I decided to run home as fast as I could. When I reached the top of my road I saw an ambulance outside my house, I knew it was for my mum. As I got closer I saw her in the back of the van, she was so pale and the medics were around her giving her oxygen. Without any second to think I got into the van and went to the hospital with her. All I remember is holding her hand, but not looking at her because I did not want her to see my scared face. The blue lights started to come on, which for me meant it was serious, so I feared the worst. The medics said ‘She is having a fit.’ That phrase repeated through my mind until we got to the hospital. The medics rushed her off to Intensive Care. Hours went past and she was stable. I was so scared, I thought I would loose her right there, it was horrible.

To be honest, I can’t really remember the days after that, but all I know is that she was in hospital for a few weeks as they did tests. She got her results, and they were not good at all. The cancer had spread to her brain. The news we all feared the most. From that day I think we all knew deep down the end was near, but never really believed it.

It was 2006 now and I became a teenager, the big 1 – 3! My mum and dad allowed me to have my first proper birthday party. It was a disco, with food and my friends. It was perfect. The best thing of all was that my mum was there. We took loads of photos, which I still have today. Even though she was still ill she was smiling throughout and enjoyed the night. Although she had to go home towards the end as she was not feeling well, but still it was a night that I will never forget.

Summer came to winter and Christmas was just around the corner. I finished school and my mum and dad and me went Christmas shopping. After a few hours shopping my mum feel ill and was sick in a shop, so we decided to take her to hospital just to be on the safe side. I remember on the way to the hospital she was telling us not to tell anyone that she was going because she thought it was constipation. That was her last ever journey alive.

I did not really think it would be her last week on Earth, I generally thought she had a little stomach bug. They soon admitted her to a special ward and from then I knew it was not just a stomach bug. The last time I saw her was on Wednesday 20th December at around 12 before I went to see a friend in the afternoon, at my mother’s request. I remember talking to her in an Irish accent whilst me and her laughed. I gave her a hug. I can still feel how warm and hugable she was even now. My last words to her was “See you soon mum, I love you.’

That night my dad got a call from the hospital saying it was urgent and he must come down.  My dad persuaded me to my friends and have some fun and I can come to see her later. Later never happened, because my mum got the news that she had Leukaemia and it was the rarest type there was. The nurses said she will be in the hospital over Christmas to have treatment which will last 6 weeks, but they believed she would not even survive that night. So my dad called the vicar to say prayers with the rest of her family by her bedside. The nurses said she was affected by their presence as her blood pressure increased. Despite the doctors thoughts, she did survive the night, but this would be her final one.

On the 21st December she stopped taking fluids by a tube and her reactions slowed down. She stopped talking. I got told her eyes were still opened and she knew who was around her. I did not go up to see her, and I do not regret it, as I was very young, but I wish I did see her to say my last goodbye.

The following day I was at my friend’s house and I woke up at exactly 9:20am and I knew something had happened. That night I did not sleep at all, but I must of had a little bit of sleep as I felt awake. I did not hear any news from no-one until about 10:30 when my family came round  and I knew that was it. My mum had gone.

Later on I realised that my mum died at 9:20am, the same time I woke up, now explain that?

I am glad she is in a better place, singing in the clouds with the angels and not having to suffer any more and because of that only reason it makes me smile. I have become stronger and a more positive person due to this and I wanted to tell my story so that if it does happen to you, you can get through it. They would want you to carry on and be successful in all things. Make this the time to change and grab every opportunity and experience before it is too late.

Yes, I have not had a mum for most of my life and it is hard, but looking back I have become more independent and have achieved things even without her guidance. I have gone to University, finished school and college, and have grown up immensely. It keeps me going knowing that she is close by and always guidingme through each life event. Although she will not be here for the most important days of my life such as wedding, births and graduation, I know she is close to me. I will forever be honoured and proud of her and I’ll dedicate all my successes to her.

So it is only right that this year I have decided to do the Race for Life in honour of this amazing lady. Whoever did meet her or had the privilege to be close to her will realise how much of a fighter she was and an inspiration to everyone around her. I am truly proud to be an off-spring of this strong and beautiful woman. So to give a microscopic piece back to her I will be doing the race for life this year with some friends, not just for her, but for the many other people who had or are suffering from this horrible disease. A 5k jog, run or walk is nothing compared to what these women have to go through during this illness.

So please I hope this has inspired you to take part in the race for life, take part at http://www.raceforlife.org

Donate to us at  raceforlifesponsorme.org/piink-paradise :)

Thanks for reading <3


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