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Living with Cancer II

Living with Cancer II

Previously I talked of the initial days of my Mother's first surgery. At the age of three I just had no idea of what was truly happening with my Mother. I knew I was staying at my Grandparent's home. I didn't see my Father or Mother except either at windows or outside the hospital. I was angry, scared, confused, and sad. When my Mother was allowed to come home I was not allowed to go near her. I was allowed to sleep with her at times, but I had to sleep at the foot of the bed. I remember one afternoon I climbed into the bed with my Mom and Dad and my Father turned and knocked me on to the floor. I hit hard crying and waking both of them. My Pop started yelling at me and when he saw it was making things worse he stopped. By then though, I was back in my bed. I heard him get out of bed and come into my room. I thought he was going to spank me but instead he picked me up and started crying.

Cancer was a very scary thing back in the 1960's. My Father was in his twenties and he was scared to death for my Mom's mortality. A radical mastectomy was not a simple operation and required literally the removal of the breast and some surrounding nodes. My Father apologized for what seemed like an eternity that day. He scooped me up into his arms and carried me back to their bedroom. He laid me onto the bed. Mom looked like she had been crying. For the first time in weeks resting between my parents that afternoon I felt safe and secure. We would have many days like this. We didn't know how to talk to each other. We were like strangers in our own home.

My mother was scared to death. It was written on her face. My father was not an emotional man to and it was so hard for him to face this. I was a little child who saw the agony but didn't really know what it was all about. Needless to say stress and tension was a major companion. The World at times would seem normal but they were always short lived periods.