As I pulled in the driveway tonight when I got home from work, I stopped to check the mail box. I grabbed the mail and set it on the seat beside me. I had a lot to do when I got in--put the groceries away, feed the dog, start the laundry, get supper cooked. I had a long day at school today and a technology workshop afterward til 5:45 p.m. and I was tired.
I sat down a few minutes ago to look through the mail. Among the ads and junk mail, I saw the familiar logo of my endoscopy center. I opened the letter with a little uneasiness. It can't be time for another colonoscopy already! Of course, it's been five years since my last procedure.
My birthday was this past Friday on March 1st. I'm now 48 years old. My mom had been diagnosed with colon cancer at age 47. I have been going through colonoscopies since I was 36. My doctor has told me that it takes ten to twelve years for polyps in the colon to become cancerous. Each time I undergo the procedure, I think of my mom. She suffered a great deal in her two year fight against the disease. When her cancer was detected she was already in the latter stages. The doctors knew it was just a matter of time. She was given two months to live at the time of her diagnosis. She decided to let the doctors at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland try some experimental treatments to try to help others with cancer.
My lived for over two years after the cancer was found. She passed away at the age of 50. She instilled in my brothers and me the importance of taking care of each other. She taught us there is no greater calling than service to others. She was not able to meet my children, but I think she would be proud of them. I have tried to share with my kids the core values that she taught us.
As I look at some of the home situations of my students, I realize what a wonderful gift she gave her family. She shaped the lives of each of us--my three brothers and me--and countless others because of all the people the four of us touch every day. If my sons look back at me with as much thankfulness as I do my mom, I will feel like I have made her proud.