Rhonda Woodrow, Louisville, KY

My mom had a hysterectomy when I was barely in middle school. We thought that the surgery had solved the problem. I remember seeing my mother’s scar and thinking that it did not fit her. It wasn’t right that she had to endure that pain. However, my mom was alive and healthy. A couple years later, my mother started complaining about her body feeling “weird”. She said something was wrong, and she made appointments with doctors. Over and over again, they told her nothing was wrong. Finally, she had a scan. She was in stage 3 at the time of this scan. It is so important to be an advocate for yourself! Yes doctors are intelligent and smart, but they don’t know your body. My mother knew something wasn’t right. She then started on some clinical trial drugs and nothing helped. Finally, she decided to undergo chemo. I never truly believed my mom was “sick” until I saw her go through chemo. I hated chemo. I hated feeling so defeated inside. Watching her beautiful hair fall out was traumatizing to me. She was so strong through it all; she was inspiring. A lot of things I don’t really remember. For whatever reason I can’t access those memories anymore. I was fifteen years old and trying to busy myself with school and a boyfriend. My parents had divorced when I was younger, so it was up to me and my sister to take care of my mom. This was a heavy burden. If you know anyone in a similar position right this very moment, then please help that family out. I don’t regret taking care of my mom and our house at all, but it was very painful. I remember the chemo destroying my mom’s body. I know for some it saved them. I’m not sure if my mom would make that decision again today knowing its effects and considering her prognosis. My mother entered the hospital for one final time in October 2008. I thought it was a routine visit, but in a couple weeks it would be the last. I miss my mom so much. I am now 21 years old and have experienced so much of my life without her here to see. I am almost done with college and engaged to a wonderful man. I wish she could be here to see me now. Even though writing this brings up so many painful memories, it also makes me thankful for my mom’s strength. I believe that her strength is something that inspires me to do my very best each and every day. Ultimately, my mother taught me to lean on the Lord for strength, peace, and comfort. In all things, He gave us the ultimate strength.