I don’t know where to start or even how to but….here it goes. March 15th, 2017. I don’t remember the weather that morning. To be honest some of it (well things like the weather) is a blur. I do remember certain details though. These details that will never leave my mind. Permanently sketched in my heart. My Mom picked me up and we headed to her appointment at Lourdes Medical Center. Laughter. Jokes. Playing gospel music. Singing along. The usual. We pulled into the parking lot and I remember us praying before we got out of the car. We registered. Waited in the waiting room for my Mother to be called to the back. She mentioned to me that she wanted me to go in the back with her and I told her I hope that I would be able to but I figured it may be against their policy. It was. So she had to go back alone. I remember smiling at her, telling her I love her and that I would be right there waiting for her.
So I waited. And waited. And waited. I sat in the waiting room waiting for the results of my Mother’s biopsy. I remember having a conversation with a lady that sat across from me in the waiting room. We talked about my daughter. My niece. My Mother.
I kept checking the time. They told me an approximate amount of time that the procedure would take so I made a mental note of a time that she should be finished around. I took a walk to the café. I had a salad. I did everything. A bunch of nothing really….just trying to pass the time by.
By this time it was around the time that my Mother should be finished. So I sat there and waited, looking up every 5 minutes wondering where this nurse was at. She should be coming out to speak with me at any moment. Then there she was. Standing right in front of my face. She asked me to come to the back with her. She said my Mother was asking for me. She didn’t prepare me for what I was walking into but as soon as I walked into the room I immediately began to comfort my Mother. She was crying. She was in pain. My head is spinning at this point but I won’t let my Mother see it. I have to be strong for her. Okay so what is going on. No one is saying anything. (Yes I left out certain details for my Mother and family’s privacy. The things I am sharing my Mother was kind and brave enough to allow me to share.) I needed someone to tell me something. Someone please tell me something. Then the professional asked to speak with me in the hall.
I remember her telling me how big the tumor was in my Mother’s left breast. I remember me asking her did she think it was cancer because for some reason she had yet to say. She said it was really no doubt in her mind that it was indeed cancer. I asked her did she tell my Mother. And she said no. She thought it would be a good idea for me to tell her. I remember her hugging me. Then I remember telling her I needed to step outside and to please tell my Mother I would be right back.
I couldn’t breathe. I could barely stand up. I don’t know how I walked outside. I don’t know how I dialed numbers. I don’t know how I managed to do anything from that point on. The first person I called was my significant other, Allen. I don’t really remember what he said because all I can remember is me screaming and crying. The second person I called was my sister, Ayesha. And I can’t remember what I said because all I could hear was my sister screaming and crying asking me was our Mother going to die. And then silence.
Meanwhile, my Mother later told me that she knew something was wrong when I didn’t come back into the room right away. She said she knows her daughter. After speaking with several doctors and nurses, scheduling appointments amongst other things, it was time to head home. I remember me walking down the hall with my arms wrapped around my Mother and we didn’t even walk a few footsteps before she asked me what did they say. My Mother asked me did she have cancer and I had to tell her yes. (I’m going to fast forward a little bit because if I don’t I may not be able to finish this post. Writing it is even more difficult than I thought it would be.)
I remember walking to the car and my Mom almost collapsing, crying and saying she wanted her Mother. Nana. Yeah. We needed Nana right now.
The ride back to my place was…I don’t know. I remember silence. I remember small talk just to keep it from being dead silent. I wasn’t sure what to say. She asked me where my sister was and I told her she left work and was meeting us at my place with Di’or (my niece). I remember calling my Uncle Tee per my Mother’s request on the ride home. I remember walking into my place and Allen immediately hugging my Mother. Then we made her comfortable….as comfortable as she could be at this moment. My precious baby girl got right on the couch with her Nana, laid down and cuddled up under her. She’s a smart little girl. She didn’t know what was wrong but she knew it was something. She seen the tears. My sister, my niece, my daughter, Allen and I spent that day (and everyday forward) comforting my Mother. And trying to make sense of what just happened.
March 15th was a Wednesday and that night, Thursday night and Friday night I don’t remember sleeping. At all. I stayed up all night researching everything there was to know about breast cancer. Allen stayed up with me. Every single night. The love and support he’s shown is….pretty amazing to say the least. I am thankful for him. That Saturday we all went to church. Our church. I remember it being a guest speaker that day and I spoke to that Pastor after the service. I shared with him about my Mother’s diagnosis. He immediately began to pray. And he looked me right in the eye and said to me “Your Mother will not die”. And guess what?
I BELIEVED IT.
It was a while before my normal sleep pattern came back. It was a good 3 or 4 weeks before I can remember having a full night’s rest. For a moment it felt like the walls were closing in on me. It felt like I was suffocating. I was a Mother. And my Mother had cancer. How do I care for my Mother and be a Mother. How can I be the absolute best at both? How Keisha? How? Why have you yet to figure it out? That’s because I couldn’t figure it out. It wasn’t in my power to. For a moment I almost forgot. I almost forgot who was really in control here. It wasn’t me. Or these doctors. Or even my Mother. It was and still is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He said that in our weakness we are made strong! He said that he would NEVER leave us or forsake us! That he would comfort the brokenhearted. That we can do ALL things through CHRIST who strengthens us!
“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4 : 13
I have to say, my Mother is a trooper. I never met a woman stronger than her. She has shown tremendous strength, hope and courage through this journey. She has inspired me beyond what she can even imagine. An inspiration to me and so many others. I know you’re reading this Mama and I just want to tell you that you’re amazing, I love you dearly and please keep fighting. Victory is yours. And you will never fight alone.
August 7th marked THE END of her chemotherapy treatment. Yes the very last one. I remember walking out of one of her treatments with her one day at Cooper. She laid her head on my shoulder and with tears in her eyes she thanked me for being there for her. She said she didn’t know what she would do without me. I told her it was my honor to be right by her side through it all. And that at times I wish there was so much more I could do to help. September 18th was my Mother’s mastectomy. The surgery itself went very well and she is recovering gracefully. She continues to fight to this very moment. I’ve watched her faith in Christ and her relationship with him grow tremendously. What a beautiful thing to witness. I know that he is walking side by side with my Mother and giving her the strength she needs to conquer cancer. Her journey isn’t over but I would like to say the worst parts are.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41 : 10
I never knew heartache until I watched my Mother battle breast cancer. I knew the power of God but not to this extent. These past six months The Lord has truly shown my family his love, grace and mercy in the most supernatural and divine way. I am grateful. I am humbled. And we are loved. I’m so thankful for the people who have shown their love and support to my Mother and our family. I’m thankful for our amazing treatment team that God has blessed us with at Cooper University Health Care. Dr. Loveland-Jones is truly heaven sent. And to those of you reading this post please be encouraged in The Lord. Please know that whatever it is you may be battling that you can overcome and have VICTORY. Do not give up. Even on your darkest days please know that The Lord is with you. He will never leave you or forsake you. Cry out to him. He will strengthen you. His Holy Spirit will fill you with joy, love and peace. Yes you can still have joy in the midst of a storm! You can still have peace knowing that God will go before you and make all of your paths straight. And always remember that absolutely nothing can separate us from God’s precious love.
May God be with you all.
P.S. There will be VICTORY after this!