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An Easter Miracle


For months, my mother was heralded as the poster child for chemotherapy. Her spunk always brought a smile to the nurses and oncologists. We felt so fortunate that she was relatively free of side effects, attributing her success to acupuncture and medical marijuana.

But after my mother’s eighth chemotherapy treatment she quickly began to deteriorate. The deadly cocktail finally took a toll and was ravaging her body. She had several falls and needed to walk with a cane, and even then had problems getting around. She was audibly grimacing in pain and it was hard for me to watch her rapid descent. Before the cancer, she was going to the gym seven days a week, and now she couldn’t even walk on her own. Several times, her blood count was down and we had to skip or alter treatments.

Last week, my mother confided in me if she had to endure another chemotherapy treatment, she felt she would die from the pain. I suggested she discontinue her chemotherapy after ten treatments, and we met with the oncologist to discuss her options. In the waiting room, I surveyed all the patients, each at different stages of their treatment. Patients in wheelchairs and walkers, overweight, emaciated and bald. Cancer doesn’t discriminate and it was a racially diverse crowd, including other Vietnamese patients with medical interpreters. Some people were alone and my heart squeezed as I imagined their isolation during this challenging process. The oncologists agreed with my mother’s decision to end her chemotherapy early, and I felt like skipping home.

Easter was three days later. And miraculously, my mother was able to walk unassisted on the third day!

Seven months ago, I received news of my mother’s cancer diagnosis while in Greece. I’m so thankful I could return to Seattle to help my mother and be surrounded by supportive friends and family. Tomorrow, we are headed to Harmony Hill (www.harmonyhill.org), a cancer retreat center in Hood Canal, for the next stage in her healing journey.

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