“Shh!” Molly whispered to her little brother Drake, who is four-years-old.
“Don’t wake up Mommy! She just got home from the hospital.”Kevin reminded them.
Molly stated “Mommy is sick and seems to sleep a lot lately.”
“I know but your mother is very sick. Sleep helps her body to heal.” Kevin explained
Molly is seven-years-old with big beautiful brown eyes like her mom. However, her complexion was olive color like her father. As she grows, she has more of her mother’s personality coming out of her. Molly has shoulder length golden brown hair that matched her father’s eyes. She has her mother’s unruly hair, but Drake has his father’s oily hair type and he was blessed father’s eyes. Drake favored his father yet many people have told Chelsey that Drake looks just like her. Nevertheless, he has chestnut brown hair, just like his mother and his sister.
Chesley has complained about a sharp throbbing pain in her lower abdomen, since she was twelve years old. However, most doctors diagnosed her with Gastritis and each doctor informed her to get gas pills. In September of 2002, she began working for a landscaping service and a small plant nursery. She cleaned up the weeds in the plant, while taking care of the plants and the office. All month long Chelsey had a horrible pain in her belly, but due to no health insurance, she couldn’t go to a doctor without paying upfront. Her monthly bills ate up her money like: rent, electricity, phone, gas, and car insurance
She had no choice but to visit local emergency room to get the help she needed. She ended up staying in the hospital for three days, while the doctors pumped antibiotics in to her system. Chelsey finally got better, but the pain never really went away and she was advised to see a specialist. Thankfully, her visit to the emergency room actually helped her to get approved for a state medical insurance plan. The OB/GYN doctor she was referred to by the hospital, needed to recheck her in order to see if the infection had responded to the antibiotics that were given to her at the hospital.
This specialist examined her and took a biopsy of her cervix, which is the removal of a tissue sample. He wanted to see if he could explain why Chelsey’s lower abdomen was still in severe pain. The doctor sent the biopsy to the hospital lab to be examined and tested. The specialist nurse called Chelsey on the phone and asked her to come to the doctor’s office that afternoon in Oct. 2002. Molly noticed that her mom was crying the next day when she got home from work.
“Did something bad happen at work?” She asked as her mother hugged her tightly.
“Nothing for you to worry about sweetie, Mommy is having a bad day right now.” Chelsey replied trying to reassure Molly.
Molly began cleaning her mother’s office when she saw some information about cervical cancer on her desk. This made her worry, so Molly got very sad because she knew people that had died due to cancer.
“Do you have cancer Mommy? Are you going to die?” She asked her mother.
Molly’s eye began filling tears, as Drake crawled into her mother’s lap and began crying as well.
“Yes, I have cancer, but tomorrow my cancer doctor will decide the treatment I will need to take. Then, I’ll know more about what we can expect once I see the oncologist.”
“Will you die mommy?” Drake asked with tears streaming down his face.
“I don’t believe I will die, but I will get very sick due to chemotherapy and radiation. Plus, there will be some other changes around the house.” Chelsey answered cautiously.
“You both will have to help your mother more out around the house now, Molly.” Kevin stated.
Kevin works as the maintenance man of the small mobile home park, which they have lived in for about two years. Sometimes, if needed, he can come home and help Chelsey during the day.
“Do I have to help care for Drake too?” Molly attested.
“Yes, you will have to help me from time to time with your little brother, due to my illness and upcoming treatment.” Her mother answered.
Molly helped Drake get a bath and helped her mother dress him, whenever he finished his bath. Chelsey began gathering up information that Molly and Drake could read about my illness. Molly decided to take a shower, while her mother was using the computer. She finished her shower and dressed in her favorite pajama, which is pink thermal underwear set with tiny purple and green flowers on them.
“Listen Molly, here is some information I gathered for you to read. This way, you can ask me any questions that you may have once your done reading.” Her mom said while trying to help Molly understand her illness. The information she was able to read would ultimately help answer most of her questions she may have about the disease itself. Molly and her mother began reading the information together and she understood why her mother’s stomach hurt a lot.
Molly read that people with cancer most always lose their hair, so she asked her mom, “Are you going to lose your hair mom?”
“No, my doctor said the type of chemotherapy I need will not cause me to lose my hair.” Chelsey explained.
Molly fell asleep reading the information about cervical cancer that her mom gave her. Chelsey knew that she need to call a family meeting the next day, once everyone was home. The next day Kevin, Molly, and Drake were sitting on the old brown and brandy wine colored couch. They waited for Chelsey in the living room that has been decorated in NASCAR memorabilia hanging on each of the walls. Molly and her family began discussing Chelsey’s illness and the changes that will soon become reality.
Chelsey asked Molly, “Do you know what cancer is?”
Molly answered,” Yes, I learned that cancer isn’t just one disease, but it is rather a group of blood cells that keep growing out of control.”
Molly asked, “How did you get cancer mommy?”
“I do not know how I got this cancer, but you cannot catch cancer by hugging or kissing me. Also, you cannot catch it by sharing the bathroom with me or using my hairbrush.” Her mommy assured her.
Molly asked reluctantly, “Will you die from cancer like your friend Vicky did?”
Chelsey responded with a tear in her eye, “I don’t believe that I will die, but I don’t want to promise you anything.”
Molly hugged her mom really tight and declared, “I have been asking God to help you! He promised he would help if I ask.”
“That’s true God did say to ask and you shall receive, if you have faith of a tiny mustard seed you can move a mountain out of your way.” Chelsey assured Molly.
“Does anyone have any questions about my illness?” Her mom asked.
“Will you have to stay in the hospital?” asked Molly
“Yes, Sweetie, I will have to stay in the hospital for three weeks off and on to receive the chemotherapy by IV. I will require two minor surgeries to put sedum implants into my Uterus to deliver the radiation where it needs to go.” Chelsey explained, “I will be radioactive once I have the surgery and they place the implants. You won’t be able to visit me during that time. However, you can visit anytime you want. I will also require Radiotherapy, which is like a photon laser hitting the tumor everyday for about fifteen minutes a day.”
“Will you quit smoking cigarettes?” Molly questioned.
“Yes, I am going to try really hard to quit smoking cigarettes, because if I don’t the cancer will come back or will not respond to treatment.” Chelsey responded with an uncertain tone of voice.
“We will help you!” Kevin and Molly promised.
Drake yelled, “I will help you too mommy!”
Chelsey explained, “You both will be staying with your dad, until I finish treatment. He will bring you both to visit me at the hospital or at home.”
Chelsey’s treatment started on a Monday, which was the sixth day of January 2003. Thankfully, both children visited her every weekend, whether she was in the hospital or not. They would stay over at home, if their mother felt strong enough to keep them. Molly and Drake enjoyed every moment they were able visit with their mother. Chelsey was very sad, but she stayed focused on getting better and beating the deadly disease. She finally called her family to tell them about her diagnosis and each member handled the news in their own way. Some offered assistance to Chelsey and her family, just in case they needed help. Chelsey’s doctor is called an Oncologist/OB, which is a doctor that is trained to treat the many kinds of cancers that may occur in women.
He explained that cancer is blood cells that began to divide abnormally. Soon, these cells can form a tumor, which begins to cause pain while getting larger. Although not all cancers form tumors, some are found in the patient’s blood stream or the bones. The doctor explained that Chelsey’s cervical cancer was already at Stage 2B. This means that the cancer had already begun spreading on the right side of her body. The doctor explained that Metastasis is the process of cancer spreading to other organs in the body through the lymph nodes. Chelsey’s doctor elected not to do surgery and referred her to a new doctor who will take over her care.
The new Oncologist prepared Chelsey for Radiotherapy or Radiation, while the Chemotherapy nurse discussed the type of chemotherapy she will be receiving. Chelsey became close with the chemotherapy nurse and she felt like this nurse cared about her future. According to her doctor and chemotherapy nurse, the chemotherapy nurse, believe that Brach therapy or cesium implants and radiation are supposed to help shrink the tumor. Chelsey had chemotherapy, which helped to send the cancer into remission.
So far, the treatment was helping Chelsey to become cancer free. However, Molly’s mom will need to be checked every three months, in order to make sure the cancer does not come back. The healthcare team that was taking care of Molly’s mom is just people doing their job, but Molly and her family swears that they saved her mom’s life. Molly’s mom is now a cancer survivor thanks to the efforts of her special healthcare team.
(This is my family’s story, but the names were changed for the publication of this story.)