A lot of people are effected by the scourge of cancer. This is my story. My mum is disabled and has many problems with her health because of the effects of cancer. My mum has had cancer multiple times in her life which was a huge shock to myself, my dad and the rest of my family. This is because my mum, generally, is the strongest, healthiest and funniest person we knew. Before the cancer stole that from her. Before having cancer, my mum was a very beautiful, healthy and energetic person with no worries in life always one for having ‘fun’ holidays with her friends and doing hundreds of ‘fun’ activities. She never stopped doing these ‘fun’ things. But the fun was to stop when the cancer came she was a whole different person. My dad and my family had never seen my mum be unenergetic or have a lot of stress hanging from her shoulders, some days she did not have even enough energy to get out of bed, and most of the time she couldn’t even say goodbye to my sister and I when going off to school. So sad.
The cancer my mum had was strong, aggressive and spread fast. The type of cancer she had was breast cancer, breast cancer is when cancer cells are found near, on and around the breast. The first time my mum went to the doctor is because she had a pain near the sternum and close to her right breast, the doctors told her that the pain might be because she breast fed me and it might be a blocked milk duct. In April 2003, she was sent for a mammogram and a biopsy which the results showed, in June 2003, that my mum has aggressive cancer in the right breast. In 2003 my mum had a mastectomy which is the removal of the breast. Chemo therapy and radio therapy was one of the hardest things I have saw my mum go through the pain she was in was horrible and knowing myself that I could not do anything at all to help her it was heart breaking. My mum had to go through her hair was falling out all the time. Before having cancer, my mum had lovely blonde long hair and it was the saddest thing to see it all on the floor of the kitchen when our hair dresser shaved it all off, it was horrific. In 2009 she had reconstruction of the breast, the breast was made from her tummy skin, this was a big boost in my mum’s confidence and she felt like a woman again.
The second time the evil beast came to my mum was in 2011. It was in the same place near the armpit. It was so hard to see her go through this again and this time I fully understood how she felt. We as a family grew stronger and stronger we were all going through the same pain and suffering. My dad was amazing, working seven days a week as my mum was told she couldn’t work again, my dad was also trying to give my sister and I a childhood to remember instead of remembering the pain my mum went through. So, it was back to the hospital for my mum back for chemo therapy and radio therapy. I was going into primary six and at this point I was in and out of school with myself being not well and going into the hospital with an eating disorder. The teachers in my primary were very supportive and some days when I told them that I was going up to see my mum they would let me sit outside and make a lovely get well card for my mum. When I was upset, they would stop teaching, sit with me outside the class and talk about how my mum was going to get better even though I never ever saw the positive side of my mum’s treatments. Having these amazing teachers around me this made me so grateful for them also it helped me grow stronger as a little girl.
As I am a young carer it is very hard to forget about my caring role when in school. I am always thinking about what my mums condition is going to be like when I get home, what jobs will I have to do when I get home, what will I make for dinner tonight, will I get the chance to finish my homework tonight etc. These things should not be a worry for most ‘normal’ school children. As a young carer, I must mature faster than most children my age this is because I must step up and help out a lot around the house. The chores that most mums do mine can’t like make a bed or make sure my lunch is ready for school or iron my school uniform, my mum cannot as she has arthritis in all her bones this means she is restricted when holding up heavy objects. This is a difficulty for me especially as I get a lot of homework from school and I have a lot of after school clubs. This means I must skip a after school club sometimes, so I can be sure I can do all my jobs and homework. There is also a lot of difficulty when it comes to friends. Most days my mum is ill and in bed so it means I have a lot more responsibilities around the house, this means I cannot go out and see my friends after school and even on a weekend. This is annoying as most of my friends do not understand how much pressure I am in and don’t understand why I cannot go out. This leads to missing out on fun and memories with my friends. Another difficulty of being a young carer is having exams. Exams are already stressful without having a really ill mother, exam time is the most stressful time of year, before Christmas, and knowing that these exams shape my future is hard. Exam preparation is hard as I want to try my best but having a side of stress from home doesn’t help therefore I am so thankful for the teachers who knew about my mum and gave me more time after school to prepare, having 30 minutes more help a couple of times a week helped me through my exams and helped me get the best grades I could of asked for.
Since my mum had cancer a couple of years ago, she has suffered with a lot of other illnesses. She has many good days and many bad days, this means her conditions differ from good to bad every day and every hour. Sometimes the bad days can go on for a week at the time and some even last for weeks on end, some weeks she can be fine on the Monday and then the rest of the week she is paralyzed in the box of her bedroom. Sometimes I can go to school with my mum full of energy and then come back and she is in bed in so much pain, sometimes I think she needs to be rushed to hospital the pain is that painful. The good days are the best days, my mum will be glowing, full of energy and can do so much more with me, we can go on walks, go in the garden and plant some flowers, all the things we love to do together. I am so grateful for these days as she can sometimes be un predictable with her condition every good day is a blessing as you never know when the bad days are about to start. Next year is going to be the greatest year of my life. It the year my mum gets her five-year clear to tell us that the cancer is gone away for good. This will be a momentous year for us and will mean we will celebrate how strong my mum is and how grateful I am to have her still in my life and still living as healthy person, and even though she has bad days at least I still have her.