Above you see a good fortune from a cookie Mother and I shared in March 2013, two months after her cancer diagnosis.
Which of course was infinitely more unfortunate.
It did not come as a surprise to me when she was finally diagnosed with breast cancer.
Mother told me over the phone in January 2013, one month after we visited her for the Christmas holidays.
It was a relief for me to know that she was finally under a doctor’s care.
Further, considering the size of the tumour, and that she had waited five years to have it diagnosed it was a miracle that the breast cancer was only at stage two.
Often within six months of finding a lump, breast cancer aggressively advances to stage five which is seriously life-threatening.
Another worry was my mothers emotional health. I was well aware that she enjoyed her independence and solitude, even if to a fault.
However being alone at home all day and night with little else to think about other than the cancer, I was concerned that she would slide down the slippery slope of depression and stop taking care off herself.
Living so far away from her it was difficult to ensure that she maintained a positive lifestyle of eating well, getting out of the house from time to time and taking medications as prescribed.
I felt very powerless.
Sure, we spoke on the phone every evening, but that left her all day alone at home with her own thoughts.
On the other hand I knew mother had good friends who no doubt would do all they could for her. However, I wished that there was more that I could do.
There was nothing I could do to help make her physically better. However, I certainly wanted to help make her feel emotionally better.
Time and again my husband and I had raised the issue with her of possibly bringing her back to Canada and coming to live with us.
She had a good pension to support herself with, plus within three months she would be eligible to apply for Ontario health care.
Mother would banter the idea about for a minute or so then made it clear she was content to stay where she was.
We wanted what was best for her and for her to be happy, so we never actively pursued the matter further.
Now mother’s decision not to have chemotherapy or radiation was another matter.
The problem was it’s hard to effectively argue with someone as stubborn as my mother. Living so far away made the frustration even worse.
She remained adamant, even though her doctors continually called her to try and make appointments.
Arguing was pointless.
It was then that I realized that this was the beginning of the end.