The sun streamed through the blinds into the hallway as my father hugged me, tears streaming out of our eyes.
That morning we were told my mom had to go to an oncologist for precancerous cells in her uterus. The same morning my dad had to have an EKG and heart tests due to high blood pressure and to make sure there were no underlying heart issues.
That day I thought I was losing both my parents.
“I’m not ready to lose your mom,” my dad said.
And I replied with tears streaming down my face, “I don’t want to lose either of you.”
About a month later, my mom went into surgery to have a total hysterectomy and was diagnosed with stage 4 endometriosis.
That day I thought the cancer scare was over. But it wasn’t.
My dad called me into the bedroom three days later and sat me down.
I knew what was coming at that point, but I didn’t want to believe it. I knew he had been going to doctor’s appointments, and as I tried to shove the thoughts of cancer out of my head he looked at me and said, “I have cancer.”
The words were like knives into my heart, I felt like I was trying to cry, but I couldn’t breathe.
The doctor told him it was a small renal cell carcinoma, barely the size of a pea on his kidney. They could get it out by freezing it through a non-invasive procedure.
That day it didn’t matter the size of the tumor or the fact that it was a non-invasive procedure, all I could think about was that one word. Cancer.
The next day my dad took me to KFC for lunch. He explained that he was going to be okay and it’s something we just have to get through.
“It’s times like this when your only option is to be okay,” he said. “You have to be strong because quitting isn’t an option.”
About two months later my dad had his surgery and is now cancer free.
I admire my parents. I admire their strength and their ability to cope. And from that moment on I wanted to do the same.
There are certain things in our lives we simply have no control over, and being sad isn’t going to fix it. It’s not going to take the cancer away, pay the medical bills or help anyone.
Cancer isn’t something you can prepare yourself for, and you never expect to have your family become a part of that statistic.
However, sometimes when things like this happen it changes your perspective on life completely. Suddenly stupid little things don’t seem as important as they once were.
Having to tell a friend that you can’t go somewhere because you have a paper, worrying if somebody likes you or not and petty arguments are all measly, temporary little things that we give unnecessary energy to.
Don’t wait for something traumatic to happen in your life before you start appreciating what life has to offer. Because you never know when that might be stripped away from you.