My mother was a wonderful lady, she loved my siblings and I very much and just lived for her grandchildren, they were her world. She was very independent and strong but with a heart full of kindness and unconditional love.
I remember the day of her diagnosis very clearly, my mother and I both waiting nervously in the doctors waiting room both pretending we were not nervous to each other and everything would be fine. Even after the doctor gave my mother the diagnosis, I think we were both still in shock. It only hit us when we left and sat in her car, we both just started crying. The doctor confirmed she had lung cancer and due to her ill health, they could only offer her radio therapy but could not cure her. From that moment I made a promise to myself that would be the last time she witnessed me upset. Now more than ever I needed to be strong for her and my family.
After the diagnosis we looked at alterative treatments for my mother as well as the radio therapy. I had friends who had been through this journey previously with their loved ones and they recommended wheat grass. As a family we did our research and studies had proven it could help with the side effects of radio therapy. My mother had COPD and the radio therapy could affect her lungs after the treatment, so we started growing our own and my mother took it religiously every single day.
Caring for a loved one with cancer is like being on a rollercoaster at Alton Towers. Your emotions are constantly all over the place with every hospital appointment and treatment. Worrying has it got bigger, had the treatment worked and trying to live in hope and remain positive. I met some of the most courageous people while my mum had her radio therapy. They still inspire me to this day.
After the treatment, my mother was extremely tired and slept most of the day, but we were explained this and so were prepared for it. What I was not prepared for or any of my siblings was how much it impacted us also. We took it in turns to be with her and as her illness progressed, she needed oxygen permanently and her mobility deteriorated. My father became her main carer, while managing to work and look after the house also. He continued to be there for his wife in sickness and in health. MacMillan Cancer helped our family tremendously with my mother’s palliative care. My mother’s nurse Linda offered us advice, support and love. She visited my mother every week regardless and they became exceptionally good friends. I have such admiration for her and what she does, one of life’s angels.
As my mother got weaker it was more difficult for her to move and she could not get up the stairs to her bed at night, her only comfort was sitting up straight so she remained downstairs. My father, sister, brother, nieces and myself taking it in turns to be with her. There have been some very dark moments during my mother’s illness. In life there is nothing worse you can hear than your own mother begging you for your help ‘I can’t breathe’. Those words still haunt me today and my heart goes out to the mother and family of George Floyd. Despite these dark moments my mother fought hard throughout her illness and she kept smiling, her motivation to never give up is what has got my family and I through her illness.
We made sure as a family we enjoyed every single moment together birthdays, Easter, Christmas and days off were spent with my mother. These are beautiful memories that we will cherish forever. Sadly, my mother lost her battle and passed away on May 11 2017 but her spirit of life is what will guide us to keep believing in ourselves and to never give up. As a memory to her I started my own journey of Maggies Designs. I wanted to give something back to the wonderful care she received through MacMillan Cancer. Our family will be forever grateful to Linda and her team. Thankyou.