By Tarah-Lynn Remillard

It seems like just yesterday she was told something that would change her and her family’s lives forever. The only word she heard was CANCER! The last word she ever wanted hear.

This is a story about a 17 year-old girl named Rebecca. It was almost a normal Tuesday, but her mom had an appointment and left early that morning. The day – March 14 – seemed as a normal day would.  Rebecca went on with her routine she also had the opportunity to play with her cousin. She was so afraid of what was happening with her mom and had no idea what could be coming. Today, school was the furthest thing from Rebecca’s mind, it was not a priority for her. She found a way to keep her mind off everything including her depression, because that wasn’t important today, at least not to her. For Rebecca, keeping her mind off everything, including the world, was the priority. It just was her in her thoughts which scared her to pieces. She spent the day playing on the PS4 with her older cousin Adrien. He tried to keep her mind of it all. Her younger brother Ethan was home with her. Rebecca and Ethan were four years apart – Ethan is 13.

It was a day that everyone in the house was dreading. She got a call from her dad at 5:22 pm. She and her brother were told that their father was coming to make supper with them and be there when their mom got home. They had just finished making supper and her mother walked in crying. Rebecca tried to brace herself for what could be coming. She had a bed set-up downstairs. She was told by her mom “sit on your bed little girl with your brother”.  So she listened and did what she was told. That’s when she was told the last thing she ever expected to hear. She heard that word before when her uncle was diagnosed in June of 2010. Her mom said, “Baby girl, mum mum has cancer.” Rebecca sat on her bed and cried she didn’t know what to do but cry.

Now came the time that she dreaded the most. She was so afraid of reading about what kind of cancer her mom had and it took her two months to look it up.  Rebecca did the reading and now she knows what was happening with her mom. Her mom has Inflammatory Breast Cancer. So she counted down the days until her mother’s chemo. She was wondering why? Why her family? Why her mom? What did they do to deserve this? She even wondered if it was worth it.

She watched as this disease ate away at her mother.  First thing to go was her hair, next she had to watch as her mother fell into pieces screaming “I DON’T WANT TO DO THIS ANYMORE!”

Rebecca sat and watched as her mom sat there in pain. She wanted to help but she felt so useless because every time she tried she just hurt her more. She watched as her mom went from robust and lively to sick and thin. She had to sit there and watch it all unfold. She sat there and thought about watching her uncle, how it ate away at him and how sick he was. She sat there and saw how her mom’s appetite change so much. She saw what it did to her. She saw how hard it was for her. The thought of losing her mom was beyond scary and horrifying.

Life seemed slow after that it all just dragged on. To her it felt like it so long of a wait. She only wanted her mom back. The woman whom she loved and missed. This disease had just changed her mom. It was all hormone-driven so her mom had mood swings: one minute she was happy the next she was crying and it was kind of scary for Rebecca. But then again put yourself in her shoes wouldn’t it have scared you? Anyone would be scared. She said to herself that it was just for the day and tomorrow would be fine.  Tomorrow came and left and she didn’t seem fine.  Rebecca thought to herself “Mom will be okay I know she will”.   It all seemed like a big pool of sadness and anger she didn’t know how to cope with. To her, it was just one anxiety attack after another until one day she actually sat and talked with her mom.

“Mom I don’t know what’s going on I’m afraid. I need your help I’m trying not to shut myself in but I don’t know what else to do,” Rebecca said.

Her mom looked at her.

“I know that it’s scary and I know that it’s hard to figure out right now I promise, baby girl, I will be okay I just need my time. There are going to be days when I’m bitching and there are going to be days when all I want to do is cry. You will be there for me just like I have been there for you and will always be there for you.”

Her mom when through six chemo treatments, saw her little girl graduate and underwent surgery on August 27th. She through radiation and the second surgery in November. Rebecca spent a week with her mother in Sudbury.

After the months – that felt like years to her family – it was over. Slowly after time, and a lot of physical therapy, Rebecca left for school one morning, her mother looking ill and frail only to return to her mother sitting out in the sunlight with really good colour and her hair almost an inch longer than the day before. This is when she knew that through all the pain and suffering that she and her family had to endure it was all worth it. Slowly, each day for the next year, Rebecca got her wish: her mom to be back. I’m sure that Rebecca felt that she was the only person who suffered through all of this, but now knowing that her mother is a survivor Rebecca has come to understand that unlike some children who no longer have their mother because of this disease she still has hers.

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This story was written for inspirational reasons. I hope that I can inspire anyone who is dealing with cancer to realize that it is a struggle but it can be overcome with strength, support, and understanding. Nothing in life can beat you – only if you quit. Fight the good fight. Walk the good path. Never forget to always believe. For hope, and strength and love. Never ever think that you walk alone because you never walk alone.