Because I’m a writer there are a lot of situations/scenarios in life I have to imagine myself in. I always push my emotions and experiences to the limit to see what my characters can endure. One thing I haven’t imagined and was very reluctant to do was imagine the worst day of my life.
For parents the worst day of their lives is when something irrevocable happens to their kids. They have no way of protecting them from it or coming up with a solution. They’ve always soothed all the wounds, but then here’s something no amount of reassurance and love can take away. That’s their worst day.
Mine, is the other way around.
Last year in April I went with my mother to the doctor’s office, she’d been experiencing blood flow when she shouldn’t be and went for a checkup. Her gynecologist recommended they do a biopsy. They found a growth in one of her ovaries. Her doctor didn’t call it what the surgeon cold bloodedly said to her, “You know you had cancer.” He had called it a growth. She had to go in for surgery.
I don’t think there are words to describe how surreal life is after such a prognosis. The everyday hustle and bustle of traffic slows down. People going about their day, seemed pointless. The sun, the air, everything’s magnified. And while my senses picked up on these things, I saw my mother’s face‒pale shock contorting it into a mask.
And I fought. I started to fight like I’ve never fought for anything in my life. I focused on the exact words of the doctor, banishing the C-Word. I compartmentalized every single fear and spent the next couple of months living through the worst day.
They decided to do a hysterectomy, the operation took three hours. I waited in the hospital room because my face was the first thing my mother wanted to see when she woke up. I had a deadline for edits on my second book, so I worked while I waited.
The surgeon came to talk to me right before they brought my mom out. He said the growth was smaller than the tip of his pinky finger. Which is probably bigger than the tip of my pinky finger, but didn’t exclude the fact that the growth had been small and hadn’t spread, they checked.
In the next couple of months I took care of my mother. I’m the youngest of three and usually viewed as ‘the baby’, and here I was taking on the responsibility of someone who typically took care of me. I had made it through the worst day, I knew I could do this and I did.
Cancer is personal. Like any illness or disease that threatens your life. Both my grandparents on my mother’s side died of lung cancer (both were smokers). An aunt also died of cancer due to faulty surgery right at the end of the Apartheid era when hospital care hadn’t been what it’s supposed to be for a lot of people in South Africa. Again, cancer is personal.
My mother forms part of the blessed who detected the growth early before it could infect the rest of her system. I am grateful and thankful for that. I remember when she first told me she needed to go to the doctor, how I kept on her to make the appointment. I also remember standing firm on her going for the operation. Not everyone has someone to ‘bully’ us into choosing our health. And mothers never seem to put themselves first, yet they are so integral and vital to our lives.
But this disease impacts both genders, any age and race. It doesn’t discriminate. My hope for taking part in this cause is to encourage everyone that when you feel/see something is ‘off’ with your body, have it checked out. It’s scary. But the longer you hold off the worse it could get. It might even be nothing. Either way make sure. Your life matters to someone, if not for yourself, than do it for them.
Inge Saunders fell in love with books when she started reading romance novels with her grandmother. Intrigued by the worlds books unlocked, it was inevitable she would take pen to paper.
At age fourteen she wrote her first novel which wasn`t such a roaring success according to her brother. Not discouraged, she realized something fundamental: as a writer you can only write about what interests you, a principle she still upholds in adulthood.
When she`s not writing about that ‘inexplicable attraction’ she`s reading almost every sub-genre in romance out there, spending time with friends and family and taking hikes in her hometown`s National Karoo Park.
She forms part of Romance writers` Organization of South Africa (ROSA) and currently has two books out with Decadent Publishing; Falling for Mr. Unexpected and her latest release Dance of Love.
Blog: Inge Saunders – Inside These Lines
Books by Inge Saunders: http://bit.ly/1defI54
Other Sites: http://ingesaunders.goodreads.com