The Six Year Relationship

October 20, 2017

2015- 2016 started taking turns six years before. The journey began with the conversation that my mom and I had. I remember the day vividly. My brothers were playing outside, oblivious to the conversation that my mom and I were having. We sat down at the kitchen table, and she explained to me her latest doctor visit. We started talking about my grandma Judy, who also died of Ovarian Cancer. She asked me questions about what I remembered, and honestly, I didn’t and don’t remember much. I don’t even remember her being sick. My mom talked about a gene that is in our family (which I found out is on both sides), and that this gene is a mutation. The mutation causes a “really bad sickness”. She went on, telling me that she, too, had the gene. I was shocked. My mom seemed fine to me. She didn’t look sick at all. She went on saying that the sickness wasn’t fully grown yet. That was when I realized what it was; the dreaded word NO ONE wants to hear. It was cancer. I broke down in tears. I knew that cancer killed people. I didn’t want my mom to die. I wanted my mom to be there with me through everything. But, that reality, it wasn’t really a reality anymore.
From that point on, our lives were turned completely backwards. We were planning on moving, those plans changed when the only options to maybe save my mom from the dreaded disease were expensive surgeries. So, we unpacked all our stuff and prepared for the worst. My mom went to SCCA (Seattle Cancer Care Alliance) and met with a very incredible doctor. My parents both agreed on a surgery and it was performed as soon as possible. With the surgery, surprisingly, I thought that I could breathe a sigh of relief. Surgeries were performed to remove things, this would most definitely remove my mom’s cancer. Sadly, was I wrong. It turned out, that the cancer spread before they even began the surgery. That breath that I thought I could take, was stolen right from my lungs.
After the surgery, we decided that chemo was the best route, and the best chance that mom had. The first round of chemo was the strongest and most terrifying. Mom was throwing up all the time. She couldn’t stand, walk, or some days even see me. She didn’t want to scare me. I remember one day, one of her worse days. She was angry. All she wanted was grandma (her mom), she wouldn’t stop throwing up, or crying and we couldn’t calm her down. I didn’t know what to do. I remember sitting in my room in shock. I did not come out for two days; I was terrified. All of the chemo was supposed to heal her, not make her worse. How could this be helping her? She went through other treatments which included more chemo, and some clinical trials, but they all mush together. There were so many different routes we tried to take. None seemed to work the way I wanted them to.
There was one year with a small silver lining! My mom was declared in remission when I was in sixth grade. It was around my birthday too! I couldn’t have asked for a greater gift from God. But then more medical emergencies came up. That year we found that she had a hernia, which led to the doctors finding cancer that had not fully been destroyed. The nightmares were beginning again. My family went through scare after scare. Every year felt like it could be my mom’s last year here on earth. Slowly, 2015 came around the corner. For months, my mom slowly began degrading. Soon, going to church was a struggle, that was when I knew we were at the end. The last few months I remember very vaguely, because they are months that I don’t want to relive over and over again. I was working almost every day in the last months that mom was here. But, her last day was the worst. I was at work when dad called me. He said that mom was almost gone. I rushed home as quickly as I could, speeding on the roads and sprinting from the car to the house. Slowly and cautiously I crept into the room. I sat right next to my mom, wrapped my arms around her, and held her as long as I could. My last words to her were, “I love you”.
Since then, I have grown up tremendously. When I first found out it was the last year with my mom, any time that someone would mention something about their mom, I just wanted to curl up and cry. I couldn’t stand the fact that I wouldn’t have my mom like they would. I wouldn’t share my senior prom, my first real boyfriend, my graduation, college, my wedding, nothing. I wouldn’t have the mother daughter pictures, or the advice from my mom like everyone else. How is a teenage girl to survive hormones or anything without someone who already has been through it? But now I know, that there are so many people in my life that will be there for me. That was part of change. God has something amazing planned for me. I don’t know what it is, or will be yet, but my change will be for the better.
Melanie Rittierodt