I joined the CCA Voices and Buddy program because I wanted to give back. I have always been an advocate for cancer awareness, but my desire and passion have been heightened since my mother's death.
My mother's battle with colon cancer was a journey of overcoming fear with courage and faith. My mom was initially diagnosed with colon cancer on September 7, 2005. I will never forget that day. I knew that my life had changed for good at that point. From 2005 to 2007, my family went through a myriad of emotions as my mother's cancer went through periods of stability and chaos. In 2008, her disease really took a turn for the worse, and I knew then that perhaps the worst would happen. Ironically, on my birthday in 2008, my mother was put on hospice care. It was then that I accepted that she did not belong to me, she belonged to God. I lost my mother to colon cancer on Monday, August 11, 2008, a day I will never forget. In all of my grief and sadness, though, I knew that as her daughter, advocate and friend, I had done my best as her caregiver. I miss my mother dearly, and I wish to honor her beautiful memory by sharing our story with others. My mother battled her disease with such voracity, courage and grace. She never wavered in her faith! I want family members and friends of those who are fighting this disease to remember that they must be there for their loved one every step of the way.
Tips that I would like to offer are:
- Be Present at every, if not most, doctor appointments. Cancer-patients’ attention spans can be short, so it is important to be there so that you can fully understand what the doctor is saying and be able to relay that information to them.
- Be Proactive - Research, Research, Research! You cannot control a disease like cancer, therefore you must read and research as much as you can to empower yourself with knowledge. There are helpful and reputable websites that give insight into different drugs and treatments that are available. See what options are out there and if they don't offer those options in your area, check with your insurance provider for a listing of oncology clinics and doctors in your network.
- Be Supportive - Be an advocate for your loved one and be vigilant, but also support their decisions.