Write about a memory inspired by either three of your own photographs or a memory sparked from a set of samples below.
She was ill. Not the type of ill that you eventually recovered from either. An ill that although the disease may leave soon, there was no recovering – no going back to how things used to be because after such an illness your life is changed.
July last year my mum was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was the most aggressive form, 7mm wide and no mammogram detected it. It was sheer luck that my mum had felt such a subtle change in her breast.
I was told on the last week of college before the summer holidays. I had just finished my exams and I was ready to sit back and relax. It came as a shock to learn that my mum had cancer. The woman who conquered everything was being fought by her own body – I told myself then that she would win.
Going to college the next day was surreal, the words echoing in my head – 4 words that I could not quite believe. When asked how I was, I replied with a conventional ‘I’m alright’ because the truth is I was – I was in shock of course – we all were. But I wasn’t going to cry – I knew I had to be strong – I had to fight alongside my mum and I wasn’t going to give up so easily.
August 23rd, my mum had a lumpectomy and several nodes removed. She was released the same day.
An intense chemotherapy treatment started shortly after – 6 weeks of the strongest drug. Her hair quickly fell out, tiredness soon came and soon my mum became so weak she couldn’t open a milk bottle. Her nails on her fingers became blackened and carved with deep ridges but my mum still remained in good spirits. This was when I became her carer.
We all remained positive – my sister, mum and I – we had no other choice. Yes, there were down days but if we were going to face this we had to laugh about it. We had to laugh at my mum’s horrific baldness and how awful she looked in wigs because to laugh is a beautiful thing.
When Chemotherapy finished, my mum experienced severe sciatica. She visited the doctors, who then sent her for a MRI scan. The scan showed several more lumps, this time on her ovaries. The lump borderline cancerous and 4 inches wide. A mass hysterectomy is going to be the treatment on March 18th.
February 20th intense Radiotherapy started – everyday for 15 days. Becoming increasingly tired and drained my mum became easily defeated. Days of worry and stress came more frequently and rowing over silly things became norm. Lacking in sleep and no appetite became a normal part of every day living and me trying to look after two house holds, my mum and do A-Levels became something of a nightmare.
The disease is ongoing and the repercussions will be life-long for my mum. No getting sun-burnt, no getting bitten, no cuts, scratches or falling over. No lifting heavy shopping, no doing everything all at once – slow down. Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet and keep yourself fit.
Cancer is a disease. A disease you can fight and destroy but you can’t expect to go back to how life was before; everything changes. You will be more appreciative of those around you but caring for yourself – crossing every t and dotting every i – continues well after the disease has gone. Its consequences and its experiences will stay with you like a bullet wound.