Home Again, Forever Changed

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I suspect that most of you already know, but I’ve spent most of the past two weeks unexpectedly out of town, and not for a fun reason.

Just before Christmas ten months ago, a nurse convinced my mother—who had refused to have a mammogram since her first one thirty years ago—to finally get the lump she’d been ignoring scanned. The mastectomy to remove the cancerous breast took place a few days later. A week after that, we learned that the cancer had spread to both of Mom’s lungs. Since her cancer—which we now knew was stage IV—was aggressive, she went through equally aggressive chemotherapy.

Who knew all of that would be the easy part?

Time went on; the roughest of the chemotherapy treatments were completed. Mom’s hair, fingernails, and toenails started growing back. About five weeks ago, we celebrated her second completely clear scan. We all breathed a sigh of relief knowing that we had more time, hopefully years.

A few days later, Mom started to act confused.

When she told me three weeks ago that the cancer had spread to her brain, she had already completed ten of her thirteen radiation treatments. I knew time was short, but I still thought we had it. At least a few months. I decided to spend her last Christmas with her.

Later that same night, she was hospitalized for a severe nosebleed. I won’t go into any more specifics other than to say that a few weeks after Mom’s clear scans, I found myself on an airplane to Montana with a single goal: get her out of the hospital so she could die at home.

If I’m honest, the week I spent getting her home and sharing her last days was beyond brutal. But I did find a few gifts. Someday I’ll write more about that time and the dichotomy that was my mother. For now, as I fly back to Seattle on my way home from her funeral, I mainly want to say thank you to the Whole Life Yoga teachers and teacher training students who have both helped me and had patience with me during the past two weeks. As I said at her funeral, the world permanently changed the day my mother was born. Mine permanently changed the day she died. I don’t know where any of this will lead me—yet—but I’m open to figuring it out.

To everyone reading this blog, I offer two learnings:

  • Life on this earth is a loaner, and we don’t know how long we can keep it. Live today as if it will end tomorrow.
  • Women, get your mammograms. I honestly don’t know if my mother’s story would have had a different ending with early detection, but at least she would have had a fighting chance. Life is too precious to waste due to embarrassment or fear. You owe yourself better than that.

To Mom: I’m sorry your life ended this way and that you never got to visit Hawaii or live in that little house in Seaside. Our relationship was never easy, for so many reasons. But I can say with absolute honesty, I loved you. You will be missed.

Tracy Weber

Karmas a Killer (4)My newest mystery, KARMA’S A KILLER, is now available for pre-order from Amazon Barnes and Noble.

 

38 thoughts on “Home Again, Forever Changed

  1. Pingback: Home Again, Forever Changed » Hot Yoga Blog

  2. Gloria Browning

    Thank you for sharing this. My mom went through a similar diagnosis and decline 7 years ago, and it took things out of me physically and mentally that I cannot get back. Still, I don’t regret a minute of our times shared. I just hated, and still despise, the disease that made her last year so horrific and cut short a joyful, bright life. Please take care of yourself because you have the difficult life course now.

    Reply
    1. Whole Life Yoga Post author

      Thank you. The thing that still surprises me is the exhaustion. But I’m making it through, Day by day

      Reply
  3. Doward Wilson

    Tracy, My thoughts and prayers are with all of you. I cared for my Mom during the last 10 years of her life and I would not exchange that for anything. It was the best and worst years of my life but I learned so much. Mammograms and pap smears are the two most important things a woman can do for herself. I have lost too many friends and relatives to embarrassment. This includes men who won’t get a simple prostrate check.

    Reply
  4. LaTrecia Chancey

    Tracy I am so very sorry for your loss. I know it can’t be easy. Praying that God will give you some peace in this part of your life. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Reply
  5. Mary Jane H.

    i am sorry to hear about your loss, i know it must have been heartbreaking to share this with us. Peace be with you as well as lots of prayers.

    Reply
  6. Chapin Smith

    Dear Tracy,
    I am so sorry for your loss. I have not been through this with anyone but please know you have been one my mind so very much and my family is sending you love and light. Take your time getting back to life. We are all here for you. Beautiful post:)
    – Chapin

    Reply
  7. Debra H. Goldstein

    Tracy,
    Your love, differences, emotional rollercoaster all come through in your blog. As I’ve told you before, my sincerest condolences and heartfelt emotion having been there myself this year…….but know the important thing was that YOU were there for her. It shows in every word you wrote = and everything you did. Debra

    Reply
  8. Helga Thompson

    So sorry for the loss of your Mom! This was probably one of the hardest things to write! How telling it was as I read it! Please know she is in a better please. No more pain or suffering. Sending lots of prayers and lots of warm {{{hugs}}}. You and Tasha are still on my prayer wheel.

    Reply
  9. deb

    I am so sorry Tracy. Some of my mother’s sisters have had breast cancer. One died. It was aggressive. You are. A strong woman and it sounds like you were a very good daughter. Stay Strong.

    Reply
    1. Whole Life Yoga Post author

      I don’t know about being a good daughter. As I said, our relationship was complex. But we both did the best we could. Thank you.

      Reply
  10. Rita

    My mother and I were not emotionally close, but I loved and admired her. Being there for her the last months of her life were horrific, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It was the last thing I could do for the woman that helped raise me to be who I am today. I am so sorry for your loss, Tracy.

    Reply
    1. Whole Life Yoga Post author

      Thank you, Rita. Being there is so very, very hard. But like you, I wouldn’t have wanted to leave.

      Reply
  11. Elaine Black

    Tracy, I am so sorry for your loss, you have been in my thoughts these past weeks. I’ve not yet lost a parent but I can imagine how hard it must be. As my parents age, I often find myself thinking about what life will look like without them. You’re article was beautiful as they always are. Thank you for that.

    Reply
  12. Pat Dunbat

    Very sorry about your mom. I know something of what you we nt thru & felt. For me it was my sisters I helped care for . Miss them alot but because of their cancer I make sure I get all tes t s each yeat. I try to live life to fullest Enjoy family & friends

    Reply
  13. Roberta Kelinson

    Your story is one of importance. There is no easy way to say good bye. Our mothers can never, ever be replaced. Mine passed on 10 years ago to Alzheimer’s. I lost her long before her body was taken. Not a day goes by without me thinking, “I should call mom and tell her about ______.”
    Take all the time you need to heal, if we ever do. Perhaps one day your tears of pain and sorrow will be replaced with smiles of all the loving memories you have of times with your mom.

    Reply
    1. Whole Life Yoga Post author

      Thank you. I Do find myself thinking “mom would like that.” Alzheimer’s is tough. We’re losing my mother-in-law to it.

      Reply
  14. Jeanie Jackson

    I am so sorry for all you have been going through but most for the fact that your mother is gone. Praying for peace. Thank your for sharing your experience with the reminder that we need to take every day as a gift that may be the last. Time for some phone calls!

    Reply
  15. K'Tee Bee

    Cancer is such a nasty thing. Watching it suck the life force from someone steals a bit of oneself, leaving holes, I think. I’m slowly filling some of the holes with the love of family & friends. Holidays & birthdays sting with fresh pain for a long while. I try to search out joy and appreciate more. I send you healing warmth.

    Reply
  16. Debbie Campbell

    Tracy – I’m sending you a huge warm hug and lots of love during this time. Thank you for sharing this story and helping us all to learn through life’s difficult transitions. Your beautiful open heart comes through in your writing. Best to you in the days ahead.
    Deb

    Reply
  17. Sharon Forrest

    I’m so sorry Tracy. Strength we didn’t know we had comes forward during these times. My mom died from lung cancer 14 years ago. She ignored symptoms because she never wanted to complain about anything. I totally agree with you. Take care of yourself for your family and you.

    Reply

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