My mom was a smoker; everybody who knew her knew that. It wasn’t until the day of her accident, November 4, 2015, that we even knew there was something going on. After undergoing surgeries for her broken bones, they finally got around to testing her for different things. A week or so later we found out it was stage IV lung cancer due to the fact that it had metastasized to her brain. She was given 10-12 months of life expectancy.

Now, along with her injuries, it was time to start radiation and chemo. She had her good days, and she definitely had her bad. Being that I was mainly the person taking her to appointments (along with the help of a few others), I got to witness everything she had to go through. How tiring it was, how sick she got, still trying to keep her spirits as high as she could.

When you’re given a timeline of how much longer you could have with a loved one, your mother at that, it changes everything. Not only was my mother fighting to live, we were fighting along side of her every single day.

Things started to look up, her energy was truly amazing for someone who has undergone so much within 4-5 months. Then, things took a turn for the worse. She was in and out of the hospital for breathing trouble and pain, but they couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Eventually, we found out the cancer spread to her diaphragm. Then, on Friday, April 22, 2015, my mom’s favorite doctor came in to talk with us. He said (and I quote), “Would I like to see you Monday? Yes of course! Do I expect to see you Monday? No, unfortunately I don’t.” What a pill to swallow. The next morning at 11:10 a.m., I asked my grandma if she would like to go get flowers for my mom while she was ‘sleeping,’ and as I walked over to her, I noticed her deep, heavy breaths had ended. She was taking her last breaths on earth.

Cancer not only affects the person suffering, but those surrounding them. It takes mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, aunts and uncles every single day. Things can change sooner than you expect, and in the blink of an eye. It’s very important that you take precautions, do research and get checked. Not every story has to have a bad ending.