I didn't understand cancer
The doctors had no idea what was wrong with her. At first I didn’t know she was sick, but I heard her telling someone. I wasn’t that worried because she didn't seem worried. She went for lots of tests. A month or two later she was diagnosed with cancer. Mum and dad sat us all down (my siblings and me) and told us.
“I didn’t understand what cancer was.”
I knew it was bad, but I didn’t know how bad. My older sister who is about 5 years older than me, was crying and that more than anything scared me. After chemo, radiation and surgery mum got rid of the cancer. We all thought that was it, we were done. But two years later she got sick again.
She just knew it was cancer again. The doctors told her it wasn’t and there was a 1 in a million chance of her getting cancer the second time. A month later she was diagnosed with breast cancer again. She just joked that she should have bought a lottery ticket. Because she was diagnosed earlier this time we thought she would get rid of the cancer quicker or at least she would be fine.
Mum had chemo which she was home for, but she was so sick it was horrible. I had just started high school too and everything was new and different. After the chemo, mum went to Sydney for radiotherapy. For some of the time she was down there Dad went with her. So my brothers and sisters and I were looking after ourselves with nana and pa checking in on us every now and then. Once for school I had to write a note because I couldn’t do P.E. My sister who was in year 12 wrote the letter. I had to explain to the teachers why my parents hadn’t written the letter which was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do.
After mum had come back after radiation, we found out the treatment hadn’t worked as well as it was supposed to as the cancer was still too large for surgery. She needed to have more chemo which still didn’t kill enough cancer cells.
“She had terminal cancer.”
Mum and dad told each of us separately. I was so scared of what was going to happen in the future without a mum. That was when I joined CanTeen which was a great help to show me that life will keep going, and you can still have fun.
Mum kept getting sicker and sicker and the cancer spread right across her chest and around behind her neck until she couldn’t stand up straight. She was having trouble breathing and was in and out of hospital every few weeks.
"Everyday after school we would go and visit her."
One day we all went there and she was so doped up on painkillers she could barely open her eyes. I just knew that would be the last time I saw her. The next day when I got home from school the social worker was standing in the entrance hall. I almost turned around and walked out again.
At the funeral there was so many people. It was suffocating, and it was raining so much the grave side service was postponed.
The next day I went back to school because I knew mum would have wanted me to just keep going. And that’s what I’m doing.