A year ago my mum called me in tears. It was very strange, mums don’t cry and if they are crying then something must be realllly wrong right?
Mum had been sick previously and had been complaining about a sore stomach and some other gross details but TMI, The dr wasn’t worried so we weren’t either. It wasn’t until I got the phone call from mum asking me to take her to emergency… everything changed.
I dropped everything and took her straight to ED, I knew something wasn’t right. I remember mum yelling at me because I was turning the corners too quickly, I just wanted to get her there as soon as I could but she was in that much pain.
Waiting in ED felt like forever, mum was in crippling pain on one of the chairs, lying down having a nap. I was trying to be some kind of comfort to her, but nothing was helping. They finally took us through and dr after dr came and spoke to mum, how’s your pain from 1-10? Have you had your appendix out? When did your pain start? Question after question. After pain meds weren’t staying down and none of mum’s symptoms adding up they decided to do a CT scan, just to rule out the worst.
I remember a beautiful man wheeling mum away, he was gorgeous with a lovely British accent mmm so dreamy. But that’s another story. When she was back we were having a good laugh, she was probably high as a kite but it was nice to see her smile again, then a dr came in and changed everything.
‘We haven’t got the report back yet but I wanted to let you know we found a mass in your intestine’
Well, my heart fucking broke. Even though we didn’t know if it was malignant or not. Needless to say, I’m not one who deals with my emotions very well, even writing this is making me a little teary. When I heard those words come out of his mouth it was immediately the worst. I couldn’t help it. I tried so hard to not cry, someone had to be strong for mum. That lump in my throat got bigger and bigger, my jaw clenched so tight, I gripped mums hand and squeezed hard. The doctor kept talking, telling mum some more stuff that all sounded like muffled white noise. The next few hours felt like months as we waited for the report.
They kept mum in ED and then admitted her at about 1am, 6 hours after arriving in ED, 4 hours after the scan. It’s safe to say we were both absolutely exhausted and emotionally drained. A lovely Doctor came in and had a chat with us after mum was admitted. He sat down on the bed, mum grabbed my hand.
He said ‘We can confirm a mass blocking the bowel and you will need emergency major surgery tomorrow morning, we are treating the mass as cancer. We are 90% sure it is malignant due to its formation on the CT scan’
Well here come the waterworks again, mum gripped my hand so tight, I think I might have lost circulation for a bit there. She was so strong about it all, here I am, a blubbery mess, thinking about nothing but the worse and she’s telling the doctor to get the show on the road and do whatever they need to do. He asked us both if we have any questions, I hadn’t breathed a word for a few minutes at this point, just shook my head. Then mum comes out and says ‘she wants to know if I’m going to die’ Jesus, Lorraine, yes that was the worst possible thoughts going through my head but come on, you can’t just say those kinds of things!! And you know his reply ‘I can’t make that judgement but we will do everything we can to help your mum’.
SORRY WHAT?!? No that’s not okay man, tell me everything is going to be okay!
I can’t even begin to explain to you how extremely difficult it is to hear the words ‘Cancer’ come out of a Drs mouth. I think I cried enough that day to end world droughts. The world stopped, everything moved soo slowly. It was just me and mum, nothing was important anymore. Nothing was meant more to me then mum and her health. All my life came into perspective. I can’t even imagine how mum was feeling, she was being strong for me, when she was the one who needed support. Aren’t mums bloody amazing! Shoutout to all the mums who put everyone before themselves, even though their shittiest times. I drove home that night, crying, fell asleep, crying, woke up with swollen eyes from crying. I was a bloody mess.
I had to go to work that morning, I felt horrible leaving mum there on her own, although she was quite high on pain meds she probably didn’t even realise haha. I left work and went straight to the hospital. She was just going into surgery, I kissed her goodbye, knowing that could be the last time I ever saw her. I was running high on adrenaline and emotions, I went home and waited 6 hours before the worlds kindest doctor called me to tell me everything went well.
WOOOOOOOOOO, I don’t think I’ve ever been so relieved in my life.
I left home straight away and headed to the hospital. She was moved into her own room. Shit man I don’t know what’s more upsetting, hearing that your mums got cancer, or finding her in a hospital bed not being able to string a sentence together, tubes and machines coming out of everywhere. It was a real shock to the system that’s for sure. Pathology came back and cancer was confirmed.
I became a carer overnight, just like that I took a week off work and spent every second by her side. Unsurprisingly she still had a cracker sense of humour, which made the days’ bearable. We became besties with certain nurses and I became quite the expert artist when it came to drawing the diagram of mum’s procedure to the many guests that came and saw mum.
15,253 Australians are told they have bowel cancer each year, including 2,186 people under the age of 55. That’s 1 in 3 people.
Bowel Cancer Australia is a great website with all the facts and information on Bowel Cancer that I highly recommend.
- Find Out What is Bowel Cancer
- Prevention & Early Detection
- Learn the Signs & Symptoms
- How It’s Tested &Treated
Cancer is not something anyone wants to hear about, but you know what this might sound strange. In our case, it changed our family for the better. Our family dynamic is stronger than ever and I’m so grateful for mum. I really didn’t appreciate her as much as I should have and now I will never take her for granted. She has gone through this surgery, 6 months’ worth of chemo and come out fighting. Not only am I proud of her, but I so much more gratitude for her. She has always faced this thing head on, she has taken it all in her stride and know that it’s all over she can look back at last year and realise how much of a positive impact she has had on everyone around her. She has empowered everyone around her and shown that cancer can be kicked to the curb.
Mum is now in remission and still requires regular CT scans and colonoscopy’s (gross) but if you had read this post all the way till the end (thankyou) I want you to turn to your mumma and give her a massive hug, tell her you love her because you never know when life will throw you a curveball.