I lay in the hospital bed at Columbia Presbyterian in New York. It is ten thirty pm., and the nurses continue to give me enemas to clean out my colon. I can barely walk at this point and tell the nurse this is the last one. I feel like my legs won’t last another trip to the bathroom. The enemas stop and I am left with my thoughts about tomorrow morning. Will it be the last morning for me, will I never see my children again or my family for that matter. I left instructions with my husband and my sisters, they were trying to encourage me but with tears in their eyes. My children were four, nine and eleven. They needed me. I was only thirty nine and Cancer was my enemy. I prayed again that night to my God, please let me make it through this nightmare and stay here on this earth just until my children were old enough to take care of themselves, after that he could take me anytime he wanted, but not now, please not now. I drifted off to sleep and awoke or dreamed I awoke, and there sitting on my bed was my mom. She looked young and beautiful. I thought this couldn’t be true my mom had passed away nine years before, but there she was. I heard her voice telling me, “you will be fine I am here to take care of you, I will always take care of you”. I felt her hand caress my cheek I started to cry and remember asking her why? Why me? What about my kids, what will they do without me. She smiled at me and told me to go to sleep. I woke up to the voices of my husband, my sister and my brother. It was six am. I was due for surgery at seven. The nurse came in and shot something to calm me into the IV. I remember we professed our love for one another and my brother bent over and kissed my forehead and a tear from his eyes fell upon my cheek.
I was moved a few minutes later to surgery. It was so cold. Doctors and nurses all around me, a bright white light shining in my eyes, a voice telling me to count back from one hundred and then nothing. I remember thinking well if I die at least I won’t feel it. I didn’t die I woke up in the early evening and there they were my husband, sister and brother who was caressing my cheek and calling my name. I opened my eyes but couldn’t focus on their faces, I could just hear their voices. I fell back into a deep sleep. I dream t about the time I had pneumonia and my mom sat by my bed all night putting cool compresses on my forehead. I woke up and the sun was shining in my room. I raised my arm and felt a tube coming out of my nose and the sound of machines and then pain but that meant I made it. I didn’t die I would see my children again. No matter what happens after this doesn’t matter my mom kept her promise, she took care of me I was going to be fine.
I did get cancer again twice more in my life but I knew each time I would be fine because my mom would be there to take care of me. I am now going on 74, all of my children graduated university, have good jobs and married wonderful partners. They all have gifted me with beautiful grand children who bring so much joy to us. And, my mom watches.