Cancer Unwrapped

October 20, 2018

March 13th, 2011. For most, this day was just another Wednesday; However, for me this became the day I will always remember. I was an eleven year old girl who had never experienced pain before, but soon that would change. My world came crashing down around me in a matter of minutes.
The morning of was no different from any other. I woke up at the same time as ever, ate breakfast and went to school. There was no way of telling this would be the day my life changed. Several hours went by, and by the time lunch came around, my mother had called me out of class. It was her birthday, and I was under the impression we would be going out to lunch to celebrate and then I would be back at school. However, there was no lunch and no coming back to school.
I live only minutes away from my old elementary school, but for some reason those couple minutes seemed like hours, with the little talk between my mom and I and tears running down her face. I remember sitting in the backseat confused and trying to figure out what could have happened to make her cry. When we got home my mom had sat both my older sister, Briyanna, and I on the couch. When she finally gathered the courage to tell us, with a crackle in her voice, she said she had an MRI, and on that test they found two brain tumors, each the size of a softball, and would need emergency surgery. In this moment, I felt numb and confused. I did not know what these words meant. Was my mom dying? Did she have cancer? How did this happen? With all these questions running through my head, I was unable to put any of them into words. I could not help but just sit still, feeling the tears slowly run down my face. Even if I was able to process this and ask questions, no one would have had the right answer. All I wanted in this moment was for someone to pinch me and wake me up from this horrific dream. However, this was not a dream, this was my life.
Over the next couple days, my family would begin to prepare for the worst. Making good memories and staying positive to the best of our abilities. There was to be no talk about the surgery or what could happen. Therefore, I was still very confused and was not prepared for what was about to happen. Days went by, and before I knew it I was saying goodbye and sitting in a room praying to see my mom again. The next 14 hours seemed as if they would never be over. At about twelve hours into the surgery, we had a doctor come find us in the waiting room to let us know there had been some complications and things would take a little longer than expected. I began to panic. Thoughts like “I never said I love you enough,’ or “I never gave her one last hug” began to rush to my head. Two hours went by and the sound of a hospital bed wheels rolling down the hallway began to get louder. Finally, my mom was wheeled into a room where we could see her after the surgery. The women I saw in that horrible and stiff hospital bed was my mom, yet it was not. Her head was shaved, she was pale and she had no emotions. This was not the same person I called “mom” less than 14 hours ago. I fell to the ground and began to cry. I was in disbelief that the woman I just saw was my mother.
She was then placed in the ICU where she would be in a coma for weeks and then learn how to walk, talk and write again. All things that I have learned to take for granted, she had to relearn to do. It was a long haul for my mom and our family. We all had to help and try to put on our best faces. If not for her, for the rest of us. Still so many unanswered questions. Was she healthy now? Were the tumors going to come back? If they were, would they be bigger? My family was put under a lot of stress for months but the love we had for each other was greater.
As I put my story into words for the first time, I can not help but have tears in my eyes. Remembering the pain but also celebrating her life. The fact that now her second tumor is shrinking and she is in good health. I believe there are times where we get so caught up in how busy life can be, we forget how we got to where we are now. Growing up at such a young age has provided me with a sense of maturity and a way of handling situations that are not ideal. In this world we do not get to choose where we come from or the hardships that will be thrown at us, but we do have the control of how we react to events and how we move on from there. I have been able to recognize while, yes, this experience was not ideal, without it I would not be the person that I am today. I was an eleven year old girl who was forced to grow up in a short, painful amount of time, but this is my story. A story full of pain and sadness, yet more importantly a story of intense courage, hope, and love for people.
Promise Mourar