MATTHEWS: On finding out a loved one has cancer 

One thing no one ever wants to hear is that they or one of their loved ones has cancer. 

Two weeks ago, I went with my mom to a doctor’s appointment where we found out that she has colon cancer. 

Needless to say, we were in a state of shock. After all, the only time we’d ever heard the “C” word as it relates to my family was about 20 years ago when mom’s dermatologist told her she had basal cell skin cancer, which fortunately they caught in the early stages and were able to remove. 

After we heard the news, I tried my best to listen to what the doctor said about what the possible options were for treatment because I figured Mom was probably tuning everything else out after what had been said. 

“I’ve referred your case to an oncologist that I would send my own mother to,” the doctor told her. 

Presumably, we’ll learn later this week when we meet with her care team what stage the colon cancer is in. We’re understandably nervous about it, but at least by knowing what it is the right treatment plan can be fine-tuned and put in place. 

She’d been having some health issues over the last year or so and we’d been trying to nail down the root causes, but this was something we didn’t expect. 

Things have been moving so fast in the process that it almost feels surreal. Surgery has already been tentatively scheduled for just a few weeks from now. 

As my mom’s caregiver, I struggled at first with how to respond to her concerns and fears. But then I remembered her faith in God is strong, something she reminded me of not long after the diagnosis. 

“We may not know the plan, but God knows, and I rest in the knowledge that He is in control, that this did not take him by surprise,” she said. 

There have been tears and a lot of anxious moments as my sisters and I do what we can to support Mom, to be that shoulder she needs to lean on. But though it’s been tough, toughest of all for Mom, this experience — as scary as it is — is making us stronger and even closer as a family. 

It’s also been a reminder to appreciate every moment and the little things in life that are often taken for granted. 

To take one precious day at a time. 

A few months ago after we lost dad after his 11-year battle with kidney disease, I told myself my No. 1 priority was to get Mom to refocus on her health and well-being because she’d put off her own care many times to make sure he was getting the care he needed. 

Now it’s our turn to make sure Mom gets the care she needs and to be there with her every step of the way. My sisters and I will fight with all we have to move mountains if that’s what it takes to help get her better again, for her to be able to enjoy the upcoming holidays with her family without her having to overly worry about her health. 

I fervently pray that everything goes well with her surgery and that she will soon be cancer-free on this side, and I ask that others do the same on her behalf. 

After all, we only get one mom in life, and though I know I’m a bit biased in saying this, she’s the best and deserves the best life has to offer after spending most of hers putting the needs of others ahead of her own. 

North Carolina native Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a media analyst and regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.