Latch (Cover) || Daniela Andrade
So I stumbled upon this article titled “Cancer Lessons I Learned From a Fictional Teenage Boy”, which basically is about this woman with breast cancer connecting with the characters in The Fault in Our Stars. I was sort of hesitant to read it because I had read the book and wasn’t all too impressed by it. I didn’t cry after I read it nor did I feel any kind of emotional attachment to the characters. I think I was honestly just… used to it?
My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 17. I was at home watching TV and when she came home I said hi without looking up, never noticing the look on her face. I didn’t even know where she had just come back from. I assumed it was work. But she came over to me and leaned against the couch without really saying anything. Realizing the odd silence I finally looked up at her and asked what was up. She looked at me and calmly said, “So you know how I get a lot of biopsies done and each time it comes back negative?” “Uh huh..” I nodded. “Well, this time I got bad news.” I turned off the TV, sat up straight, and just whispered, “No…” And after that I just don’t really remember the rest. I don’t know if I cried, but I know for sure that she didn’t shed a single tear.
I remember feeling lost. Confused. Angry for her. Scared. But she never seemed to show any of those emotions. My parents decided to keep me sheltered from the realities of the cancer. I was never informed about the type of treatment she was receiving or even what type of breast cancer she had. And even when I did ask, they were vague about the answers. It wasn’t because they didn’t know - my parents are both health professionals, but I knew it was to protect me and save me the burden of knowing the evils of cancer.
But I could always see it. I went with my mom to get her hair cut short so that the hair loss wouldn’t be as obvious for her. And I donated 11 inches of my own hair too. Maybe to feel like I was making a difference? I don’t know. When she got a mastectomy I remember the tubes that drained the blood into these little plastic pouches taped to her stomach, and the way her chest looked sunken in. I remember sitting next to her when she suddenly asked me for a bag so that she could throw up in - nausea being a common side effect of chemotherapy. I held my breath because I couldn’t bear the smell of bile, which is much worse than just vomit. I remember we were running late for my choir rehearsal, and in a rush we pulled out of the driveway and as my mom looked into the rear-view mirror, realized that she had forgotten her wig, winced at the sight of her sparse hair and pale scalp, but decided to keep driving anyways. I remember waking up in the middle of the night to the sound of her groaning in pain. I didn’t even know what the pain was from, but I was too scared to check on her. So I cowardly hid under my covers, put on my earphones, and hoped it would drown out her crying. I was so stupid and I hated how weak I felt. I remember the day she decided to undergo reconstructive plastic surgery and how she had to wear expanders for a couple of weeks. And I remember hugging her on the stairs of our house and feeling the odd stiffness in her chest.
But in the end she made it. She’s in remission and currently undergoing hormonal treatment as part of a clinical trial. It wasn’t until maybe freshman year of college that I decided to ask her all the questions I was too afraid to ask. I found out the exact type of breast cancer she had (HER2 positive), and it’s sort of relieving to hear how casually she talks about it. As if it had happened years ago and that it was all behind her. “It wasn’t that bad,” she once told me and I remember thinking to myself, ‘I know she acts tough, but that’s because she is tough’. She never would want anyone to pity her or think of her as fragile. She was always far from that. Her hair has grown back even blacker and thicker (she even has a little red streak going through it). She can lift much heavier weights than I can, and she has an amazing tan from being out golfing almost every day. People say I’m strong and independent, but I pale in comparison to her. My mom taught me everything it meant to be strong and she continues to inspire me every day.
So anyways, after reading the article I was overcome with all this emotion and needed to write about it. Because it’s been a while since I’ve really talked about it. But every time I do, I start out feeling sad and in the end I always feel relieved and lucky. She made it, and that’s all that counts.
To anyone who has lost someone to cancer, I can only imagine the pain you’re going through and you have my deepest condolences. To those of you who know someone going through this battle, I hope that their prognosis is as lucky as my mother’s. Stay strong and you have my support!
"Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be."
Shel Silverstein (via kushandwizdom)
I bought a ticket to see Odesza in September and then asked my friend if he wanted to go but he couldn’t make it. So I was dumb and waited like a week before asking another one of my friends, knowing that the show might sell out. And I checked like every day except for maybe yesterday and now it’s sold out! So now I just have my own ticket… what am I gonna do? Go to the show myself?? Ughhhh regrets.
Update: I actually probably would but I’m just a little worried about potential creepers :/
"If you consider a woman
less pure after you’ve touched her
maybe you should take a look at your hands"
True to color. Absolutely breathtaking.
Tamsui, New Taipei City. Taiwan.