That time my Mom got stage 4 cancer

Stage 4 kidney cancer. What does that even mean? It’s a question I ask over and over and over. I could quote things from cancer websites or pamphlets from the hospital. But the answer I’m looking for isn’t in the booklets. No, the answer I’m looking for is kept some where deep inside. Some where no PhD can answer. I always knew no one leaves this life alive however to know something intellectually and experience it first hand, any one can see the difference.

What stage 4 cancer means in my life was not what I was expecting at all! Although things rarely happen the way I expect them, that’s why God invented therapy.

Stage 4 kidney cancer:

It means everything, yet It also means nothing.

It means everything because now I know. Now I know to call more, stay a little longer and forgive a little quicker.

It means nothing because life is running on its own time. My death date is what it is. We all die. The feeling of powerless over the out come opens up room to just relax and live one day at a time. Gods on the job.

It means There will be times when the phone rings and the other end is full of tears. I listen. Don’t make it better. Don’t fill the silence with “well at least you caught it” or “at least it wasn’t 20 years ago” I just try say “thank you for sharing your pain, let me share with you mine…”

It means I bring my babies over to see her. Let them be kids around her. It will be healing for them and me and her. Some times the normal sounds of laughter or cries or the tiny feet on the stairs is all that is needed to balance the scales.

It means if my 4 year old asks me to sit next them with a cup of hot chocolate I try to take the time and be grateful when i can and ditch the guilt when i can’t.

It means that thing I have been putting off saying to whom ever it is I haven’t been saying it to, say it. An extra I appreciate you can go a long long way.

It means get comfortable with feeling completely powerless over all results and circumstances. It pisses me off. It’s important to let it. Anger is a normal human emotion. It’s there to help guide me to know when something isnt right, stage 4 cancer isn’t right! I feel it, talk about it and until it can be let it go, I keep working at it.

It means hug a few seconds longer. Hugging actually produces all kinds of helpful things in our brains and bodies. Aside from the fact that it helps to feel like a being in the presence of another being. Connection chases off all loneliness.

It means to keep a sense of humor. We affectionately refer to my moms gigantic tumor as her change of life alien baby boy. It was big enough to be a baby. My moms nickname now with me is Sigourney Weaver, inspired by the movie Alien. Always enjoy the laughs. Ditch the guilt or shame that just because someone is dealing with something so serious that I can’t enjoy life with them.

It means to text or email that funny kid story or video. In the dark of night those moments, to be able to replay, will get them to the next hour until the sun begins to rise.

It means this cancer isn’t mine. It’s hers. Give room for dignity in the suffering. To allow room for my family. To still travel as intended or family days as intended. To look my partner in the eye and see them. Because when the hard days of my own suffering comes, and they will come, I am going to need them. I can’t give support if I am not supported myself.

Stage 4 cancer can mean 100 different things for 100 different people. In the art of medicine every case is so different. The answers I’m looking for aren’t found in consultations or CT scans. The answers I’m looking for are right in front of me, things I have been striving to do all along.

Love hard!

Dig deep!

Trust the process!

Connect to the Creator.

Lastly, as I find a way though my journey, leave room for others to find their way through theirs.

5 thoughts on “That time my Mom got stage 4 cancer

  1. Ashley, I’m so very Proud of you and your ability to express yourself with Dignity and Purpose. You have a real gift. Your Mother and I Love you very much. DAD


  2. That was one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. Your words have helped me gain perspective on situations in my own life, thank you for sharing. Sending love and prayers to your mom and your family.


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