I hate today. Twenty-five years ago today on December 28, 1986 my Mom passed away. She was only 39 years old and only 8 days away from her 40th birthday.
Doctors diagnosed my mother with leukemia when she was 37 years old. My parents decided that they would fight the cancer and find the best doctors and hospital. That hospital, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center ("Fred Hutch" for those of us who had loved ones there), its amazing doctors and nurses happened to be in Seattle, Washington. My parents flew to Seattle and admitted my mother to the wing of the hospital that specialized in blood related cancers.
After that, my Dad flew to Seattle from Albuquerque almost every weekend, leaving me and my sister with neighbors, baby-sitters, friends, and my grandmother, once she got to the states from India. It was a stressful and sad time and I can't even imagine how my father kept his head above water while he went to work, raised us, traveled and kept on top of my Mom's disease. He knew all of her medications, the times and dosages she took and all the reactions--good and bad--she had to them. Dad kept a chart, a hand-written chart of all of this in his pocket at all times. He'd study it whenever he could. Dad basically became a doctor during the 3 years my Mom was sick. He researched leukemia and learned all he could about it.
Over 3 years, Mom had 3 bone marrow transplants and battled the cancer. She fought hard and I even remember her working out with a physical therapist in the morning on the day she died. Maybe that's where I get my drive to wake up every morning at 5:30am to work out. If she could exercise while she was sick and in the hospital than I sure better be able to get my fat ass out of bed every morning while I'm healthy and go to the gym.
When I think about how it's been 25 years, I'm amazed. So much time has passed. So much time lost, time that I could have had with my Mom. I'm 35 years old--two years away from the age when Mom was diagnosed. I try not to get morbid, but it's hard. Mom's mother, my grandmother had breast cancer. I feel like cancer might be in our genes. And some days, on my real bad days, like today, I feel like I'm waiting, like I'm a sitting duck, waiting for the cancer.