The most life changing event, for me, was hearing the words, “You have cancer.” But it was a mother’s instinct to protect her child that changed my ‘victim’ attitude into a feeling of strength and control over the situation.
The day began when Josh drove up from LA for a visit (red-head on the right in the photo), and took me to the hospital, giving my friend a needed break.
I was used to chemo by now after three months…and I didn’t realize that my son was not. He sat down next to me in the treatment room while the nurse drew blood out of the port-a-cath in my chest. It didn’t bother me anymore to see blood coming out through the long tube and into a vile for my usual blood test. I glanced over at Josh to see his eyes had rolled back into his head and were white! He was stiff as a board! I grabbed his arm in an effort to wake him up – there was no response. I turned to the nurse in a panic and yelled, “What’s wrong with him?!” She took one look and called the other nurses in a commanding voice. Then she told me to hold the hooked needle with my hand on my chest and leapt to Josh’s side. With the help of the other nurses she slid him to the floor. He was unconscious and not breathing. My 6’2″ 220 pound smart, capable son was on the floor in front of me and I was terrified!
As the nurses got him into position to start CPR, I grabbed his leg on the floor at my feet, and kept repeating, “Josh, Josh…it’s OK, I’ll be alright!” I realized that he had passed out because he saw his mom in the treatment room, bald like his grandmother just before she died. I wanted him to know that everything was going to be OK. There was a 96% survival rate for early breast cancer. As the crash cart from emergency flew into the room with two doctors…he went into convulsions…..and then came to.
Looking embarrassed, he said, “Oh my god, I’m so sorry.” One nurse brought him a pillow, and another said, “Don’t worry, it’s OK. Stay right here for a few minutes until the blood comes back to your head.”
When I realized that the danger to my son had passed, I felt a great sense of relief – like never before. I knew then, that Josh was more important to me than anything I could experience – that all my sons were. In that instant I stopped feeling like a victim. I truly knew, right to the core of my being, that I was going to be OK.
Later that day I told him, ” Thank you for passing out and scaring me.”