My mother came to visit me in 2005. We had a great time but she began to complain about feeling out of breath. She had recently started to try and stop smoking, so I figured that between the Atlanta heat and her penchant for cigarettes, that was the issue. I took her to Kaiser Permanante (where she worked for years) and she saw a doctor that gave her an inhaler.
She kept complaining, but I took it with a grain of salt. First, because my mother NEVER had a cold, a sniffle, the flu, or so much as a headache a day in my whole entire life. Nothing. I remember my sister catching the chicken pox. I was the only one in the house that had them and I had to take care of her. My mother didn’t even get sick then!!! I thought she was damned near invincible. Second, if you knew my mother, you knew that she had a flair for the dramatics. She could be quite over the top and so there were many times that I ignored those scenes of hers.
So when the doctor gave her an inhaler and told her to quit smoking, I figured that was the answer. What my mother had not told me was that she’d passed out at work a few months before and no one knew what the problem was. The only health issues we knew she had were hyperthyroidism and anemia. She dealt with those two things and had them under control, so we chalked up her lethargy to one of the two and figured she would be fine.
We were wrong. She was gone within the next year.
When she passed out at work again a few months later, the doctor sent her to Johns Hopkins for some blood work and testing. The first diagnosis was that she had a rare form of anemia. My sister and I researched it, and although it couldn’t be cured, we figured it was workable. My mother kept saying that she did not feel well and that we should keep looking for another answer.
Then the doctor’s came back with Leukemia. We had no clue what that meant. And we did not have the time to figure it out. Within six months from her diagnosis, she passed away. The woman who never had a single cold in my entire life was diagnosed and died one week before her 50th birthday from something that I didn’t even understand.
November 2016, she will have been gone for ten years. It feels like an entire lifetime. Losing any loved one is difficult to say the least, but when you lose your mother at such a young age, it leaves you feeling like you missed out on so much.
I don’t like to dwell on what I don’t have. It doesn’t do anyone any good. Instead, I started the blog in her spirit. She loved being a woman, loved all things feminine, and loved her relationship with her daughters. So when I launched CLS, I launched on my daughter’s birthday (March 20) which is also the Spring Equinox (new beginnings). We also give a portion of proceeds from CLS networking events to the Georgia chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. My mom was a giver. She gave even when it looked like she did not have enough to give. She instilled that spirit in me and my sister. To give to others and understand that you are not in this world alone.
Please take the time out to read a few facts here on Leukemia and Lymphoma.
We were blessed to be able to make a donation to the LLS after our blog launch on May 21, 2016. We had an amazing time with some amazing women and I look forward to having more events to raise awareness on blood cancers.
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