My mom is my everything. She is my rock. My support. My biggest fan. I love her with the deep, unconditional love that I love my children and husband with. The kind that burns in your chest, and leaves you breathless. I have always admired her. When I was little, she was home with us kids, and that left such an impression on me. A lot of my friends were lucky enough to have their moms at home with them, and some had moms who worked very hard out of the home. When I was little I knew I wanted to be like my mom. I may not be as sweet, kind, and soft spoken as she is, but I am able to be at home with my kids...just like she was for us. I do the same things she did with me, with my boys. We bake, clean, make experiments, play outside, cuddle for movies...and so much more. Mom was always there for us, and if she needed some quiet time, she told us. She would send us outside to play, which on the farm, was the best. We would jump bails, ride bikes, walk along the top rail of the wooden fence trying not to lose our balance, we would dig tunnels in the snow-filled ditches, go tobogganing, mow grass in the summer, play in the corn in the garden...and she would be busy cleaning, baking, making supper, or maybe she would sneak in a quick rest. She did pretty well at managing four kids.
It's always a shock when you are told someone has been diagnosed with a disease. The shock stays with you for days, even weeks, maybe it never goes away. I think the shock is intensified when its a parent. In September, we were told mom has a tumor on her liver. We were told that it was connected to the main artery in her liver. We were told that it was inoperable. We were told that after six months her health would start failing. We were told that mom would be put in palliative care. We were told that mom was removed from the liver transplant list. We were told.
Well, if you know our family, we can't be "told" much. We are pretty strong-willed, strong-headed people. And we didn't like what we were being told. We felt let down. how could five or so doctors sit around a table and read over mom's file, and discuss for hours if she had any options, and then come out with nothing? Well, except this pill...but it didn't really guarantee anything other than a lot of pain, and countless other side-effects.
We had a family meeting. We discussed options. Options OUT of Canada. We were lead by family friends, to a doctor down in Phoenix, AZ. And I am so glad we were. Mom and dad called him and filled him in on our situation. He wanted to meet with them immediately. So days later, they flew down. They were greeted with open arms, they were instantly being put through tests, scans and, wait...a biopsy? A biopsy! How wonderful, after all, biopsies tell you exactly what you are dealing with!
We didn't get the chance to have a biopsy done in Edmonton...they didn't particularly see the need for it.
What we learned, was much better news than what we were told back home. We learned that yes, mom had a tumor on her liver, but it was NOT attached to the main artery. We learned that she IS OPERABLE, we learned that there ARE treatments available.
We were given HOPE.
As you can well imagine, this has been a rollercoaster ride, and we are well aware that this is just the beginning. But we are so hopeful, grateful, ad staying as positive as we can.
It is hard. It is hard knowing that mom has cancer. It is hard knowing that she will be going through surgery to have a transplant...when? We don't know yet. But we are hopeful that it is soon. It's hard knowing that my parents have had to uproot themselves from their beautiful home, and leave their old farm dog there, to be miles and miles away from all of us. It is hard to know that my little boys and my three little nieces won't be seeing mom as often as they all need to over the next weeks, months, whatever it will be. We will be doing our best to go down and see them, be with them, and just enjoy each other.
But this, this will all be worth it in the end. Imagine, a new liver, a new lease on life, a new energy that will come to my mom! She will be here to see her grandbabies, she will be here to grow old with my dad, she will be here to have US cook Christmas dinners, Thanksgiving dinners, Easter dinners for her...we will learn all her tricks in the kitchen and perfect her bun making skills, we will still have HER. She will be the matriarch of our family in the same way her mother was...always a quiet, calm, strong force in the room, always on the verge of a laugh, always ready for a hug.
I can't tell you the state of shock we all went in to after having this news put on us. For days, I cried. For weeks, I barely talked to anyone except my family, just trying to process it. And it was that quiet, sad time I needed to get moving. To get to being POSITIVE. Am I nervous? Yes. Am I determined? Yes. And for those moments where others don't feel "up for it" I will try to pull strength from within myself and give it to them. I will try to uplift them. I will always look to the positive.
We have learned an approximate cost on receiving a liver transplant, and it is beyond our means as a family, although we will still do whatever it takes to get this transplant for mom. We humbly signed up on www.youcaring.com/annsliverforlife and started a donation site for mom and dad. With in the first ten minutes we had $1200 and I looked at mom and started crying. She cried. We were speechless. We found a new hope. The amount keeps going up, bit by bit, each day. And we have a ways to go, but we feel we will get there.
It was heart-wrenching to learn that a price was basically put on mom's life. But we have an incredible back-bone of support from our friends/family/community and they are bound with determination, love and support for our family. Any time someone in our community has been in need, we have gotten together, had fundraisers, shared laughs, tears, memories, and have made our sense of community that much stronger. I love my small town of Hillmond, Saskatchewan. And the neighboring communities surrounding it, who also reach out and help people in their times of need.
I would like to thank all who have supported our cause thus far. Whether it has been through positive thoughts, hugs, smiles, sharing the link to our donation page, setting up events, and donations of money, your support does not go unnoticed. Thank you for showing us you care, it means the world to us. Every single ounce of support helps.
Love to you all.
If you'd like to read more on mom's story, and keep up to date on her progress to health, please go to: www.youcaring.com/annsliverforlife