Chemo: From the Perspective of a Daughter

Written by: Jillian
June 10, 2022

Chemo: From the Perspective of a Daughter

Struggle is nothing but a concept until it isn’t anymore. I watched my mother struggle through months of treatment and it was only then that I could begin to comprehend the truest meaning of the word. Listening to the verdict of her diagnosis and shaving my mothers head were nothing compared to the weeks that followed.

August 4th, 2020: First session of chemotherapy.

My mom’s weekly cycle began on Tuesday. That day when my mom came home from treatment it was like nothing had changed. I was surprised to witness her so capable after the morning’s events. It was the next day that things began to go downhill. 

I began to become aware of my loss of control. There was nothing that I could do for her except hope for the following day to be better, but it only got worse. Friday and Saturday were the worst days of her cycle. I remember how strong she was trying to be. No one could have prepared me for the pain I witnessed on my mom’s face in those two days. No amount of comfort I gave could have helped. This is the most difficult thing about having a loved one touched by cancer. The loss of control. I found myself lying beside her resting body studying her treatment binder. I took to highlighters and sticky notes to memorize all I could. 

“Consult a doctor if a fever occurs.”

“Take pills at the correct dates.”

I found myself repeatedly checking her temperature, first with my hands so as not to wake her and then with a thermometer. I would then organize her medications into daily pill boxes while checking to ensure she had taken the previous day’s pills. I guess you could say this was my way of coping, nevertheless, it became my routine. 

August 18th, 2020: Second session of chemotherapy.

My mom once again came home and went straight to sleep only to awaken and exert an unwonted amount of energy. This day marked the second round of the two hundred and ten day cycle. However, the days that followed this second week were much different. I came to know that the more treatments she had completed the worse the bad days got and the more frequently they occurred. I took to household chores to suppress my feelings of uselessness. Wednesday: laundry, check temperature, dishes, laundry, check pills; Thursday: check temperature, vacuum, check pills, dust; Friday: clean bathroom, more laundry, check temperature, check pills; Saturday: dishes, check temperature, check pills. It was on Sunday that my mom would begin to feel better and life would resume to normal. These next two days I would have my mom back. 

September 1st, 2020: Third session of chemotherapy.

The struggle started all over again.

September 8th, 2020: Fourth session of chemotherapy.

Treatment switched to every week.

September 15th, 2020: Fifth session of chemotherapy.

September 22nd: Sixth session.

September 29th: Seventh session.

Hope is the only thing a person has when they lose control of their own life. The question is: how can one remain hopeful when going through hell? It was today that my mom told me she doesn’t think she can keep going.

The months to follow began to merge together. My week began on Tuesday and ended the Monday before her treatment. Attending school and time with friends became only a mere addition to my life which was devoted to ensuring the comfort of my Mother. 

December 15th, 2020: Last day of chemotherapy.

This was it. The very last week my mom would have to endure such pain. I remember hugging my mom as we both cried. The worst of it was over. Now we wait until December 15th, 2025 when my mom will officially be cancer free.