Mum was diagnosed with cancer on the 9th December 2016. The diagnosis came after she found a lump in her left breast (whilst she was sat on the toilet), and had a month of tests, scans and biopsies.
She went into her diagnosis and treatment with positivity and resilience. That year, we had a lovely Christmas together, and had a treatment plan in place for January. The plan was six chemotherapy treatments each spaced three weeks apart, due to finish in mid May.
There were a few hiccups along the way, for example some of her treatment dates had to be changed because of sickness, and she needed blood transfusions to rebuild her strength, but she was determined and had faith that she would get through it, which rubbed had a positive effect on me.
At the end of her treatment, she had surgery in June 2017 to remove the last of the tumour in her breast. It was a success, the surgeon did an amazing job and was able to remove 90% of the tumour! Then a six week course of radiotherapy from August to zap the remainder of it away. Mum went through all of this with a smile on her face, and she was getting stronger and more independent again. It was a really positive turn in her cancer journey.
My brother and I made sure Mum could celebrate her birthday in August with close friends and family. Eight of us went to the pub for the lunch, Mum had a J20 – one of the sparkly raspberry ones. (See photo below of us in pub – Mum’s the one in the middle with the Sinead O’Connor look.)
When her radiotherapy finished in September she got to “ring the bell” at the end of her treatment. Then the assurance that she wouldn’t need to be seen by the oncology team until January 2018 was great news. It seemed she had done it!
Through October, Mum had been suffering with really bad back pain. She had scans to find the source of the problem, and in November got the sad news that the cancer had spread through her spine and into her bones.
It was now terminal. Mum decided to not have more treatment.
She spent a short time in the local MacMillan hospice, where the doctors and nurses helped her find ways to independently manage the pain she had. She came home in late November, had one last Christmas at home, and had visits from close friends and family members.
In the last couple of weeks of her life, Mum deteriorated rapidly, but tried her hardest to interact and communicate. Whenever my brother or I entered the room, her eyes lit up. Although she wasn’t verbally communicative at times, when I told her I loved her, I could feel her love through her embrace.
Mum passed away on Saturday 3rd March 2018 at 3pm. She went with my brother, my Nan, and me in the room with her. Her last days were peaceful and we wanted her to feel surrounded with love.
Her funeral was on the 22nd March, and over 150 people attended. It was wonderful to see the amount of people who had a positive relationship with Mum and wanted to show their respect and love for my amazing Mum.