Last fall, we partnered with Wattpad to encourage readers and writers to share their stories about how cancer has touched them personally. We are proud to announce that from over 200 inspirational entries, the winner is Isabella De La Torre, who shared this moving story about her mother’s diagnosis and strength.
Three years ago, I learned that cancer wasn’t elusive. It was everywhere. I saw how it tore apart people, broke families and sickened once happy and healthy children. I saw how it spread and morphed into different forms, each as deadly as the previous one. I never thought it would find my family. Until one day, it did. I was only 13 years old, a young girl with a million dreams and hope for the future. Happy and healthy parents, and a wonderful sister. It all changed like a blink of an eye. My mother was diagnosed with colon/rectal cancer, in the summer leading into my Freshman year of high school. I remember feeling like the world paused the moment I found out, like I was stuck in a void full of vast confusion and denial. I prayed to God that it would end. I remember seeing my mother in tears a few day after she found out. I quickly rushed to her side and asked what’s wrong.
“How am I supposed to take care of you and your sister if I’m sick?” She sobbed, “What if I miss out on all your band and orchestra concerts? How will I be your mama?” I remember feeling confused. How could my mother, just diagnosed with a cancer that could possibly take her life, only care about how her children would be in this horrible time? I hardly remembered my mother worrying about herself, only worrying about her girls, hoping they could pull through in this time. I’ve never seen anyone so selfless, so devoted to her family that she would fight this terrible sickness not only for the sake of herself, but the sake of her children. When her friends and family would visit her, they would always comment on how well she looked despite her illness. That fight her in her eyes, that determination and will to live. Her faith in God pulled her through, and gave her the strength to still provide for her family despite going through chemo therapy, radiation and multiple surgeries.
I remember her describing the infusion room at the cancer center as a room full of ghosts, with people who were there physically, but mentally they were beaten, worn out souls hanging by threads. I remember seeing her that way, her body reduced to skin and bones, her eyes saddened and tired. Somehow, she managed to ask how school was, and wanted to hear everything about my day, despite how tired and sick she felt.
My mother is a woman of strength and compassion, and she is a warrior. I know God watched her through this battle, his eyes never left her. If you ask anyone who knows her, they would all agree that she is a fighter, and a selfless person. Two years later, my mother is cancer free, determined to live life the fullest, and is still a loving “mama” to her children.
Every day I thank God for her. To those who struggle with terrible sicknesses, God has made you a warrior. With faith and determination, all things are possible. My mother made it through, and millions more are able to win their battles with the help of science and new innovations.
The world is waiting to hear your story. Fight on.