In honor of Mother’s Day, this special blog post features PearlPoint staff members who are paying tribute to their moms who faced cancer. We love moms and we love their inspiring stories. Do you have a tribute for your mom?
Susan Hosbach President & CEO
That phone call from my dad in the late afternoon on November 19, 2008 still feels like an “out of body” experience. He was calling to tell me that Mom was in emergency surgery to remove what was believed to be a very large cancerous tumor in her abdomen. He was devastated and did not know what to do. I remember thinking, “I have to get on a plane NOW.”
After battling cancer for another year and a half, Mom lost her fight. But a fighter she was! The great news about working for a cancer support organization is that I knew where to turn for nutrition support and advice as my family supported one another throughout the ordeal. PearlPoint and my employee family was an incredible resource, giving me countless tips that helped Mom through many treatment side effects.
Now three years later, I still have those moments where I want to pick up the phone and ask her about a recipe she taught me to cook, tell her what happened with one of the grandkids, or get her advice about a problem. I miss her so much. I wish I could celebrate Mother’s Day with her and thank her for all the blessings she shared with me. I love you, Mom!
Dustin Tracy Development Officer
When my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer it knocked the wind out of me. The uncertainty was terrifying for all of us. There were so many questions about what would happen to her and many fears about the lasting effects and worst case scenarios. My mother went through months of chemo and radiation. She even had extensive surgery. Mom is a strong, determined woman, but I know she relied heavily on her faith, family, and friends during her journey. Every January 16th my family celebrates the day my mom beat cancer. She’s the most exciting to watch; she practically shouts it from the rooftops!
I think that is why PearlPoint Cancer Support is so special to me. Even though I am new to the organization, I am not new to understanding the impact of its mission. Mom made it through because she had people in her corner answering her questions, helping her with her struggles, and encouraging her each step of the way. I cannot imagine the people that face this journey alone. It has to be near impossible. The fact that that is the case for some breaks me. I cherish that I am involved with an organization striving to ensure that no one ever has to face cancer by themselves.
Kristen Kimmel Marketing Manager
My siblings often tease me that I am turning into our mother and I take it as an enormous compliment. She’s intelligent, driven, beautiful, strong and a survivor. I was only 15 when my mom was diagnosed with stage III lobular breast cancer. I was shocked; I hadn’t considered the possibility that my mom might not always be there for me. I suppose most teenagers don’t. During the months of chemotherapy and radiation that followed her mastectomy, I watched her battle to stay positive despite feeling sick and tired. I watched her selflessly schedule treatments for Fridays, so that she could recover over the weekend and be there to teach her students again on Monday. I watched her find bits of humor in a not-so-funny situation and courageously face cancer without a complaint. Now, 14 years later, I am so grateful that my mom is still here for me to wish a “Happy Mother’s Day.” I am grateful to work at an organization that provides support to others facing cancer. I am grateful that people say one day you’ll wake up and realize you’ve become your mother because if I could be half as amazing as she is, I’d be a pretty lucky woman.
Joseph Conner Communications & PR Manager
When I got the call about my mom’s breast cancer diagnosis I was scared I couldn’t imagine how scared she was. All alone in the doctor’s office filled with questions What happens now? Chemo? Surgery? Am I going to lose my hair? Will I see my granddaughter grow up? Questions only leading to more questions after hearing answers like: metastatic, HER2 positive, arimidex, and tamoxifen.
For my mom, now seven years into her survivorship, treatment included six rounds of chemotherapy, followed by two surgeries, six more rounds of chemo, and 32 radiation treatments. Throughout that year of treatment, she faced it all with strength and grace. While some survivors are less open about their journey, my mom wanted to talk about hers. For her, fear of the unknown and doubts were the worst part. I remember her wishing someone had told her how bad chemo would be, that she might temporarily have an attention deficit and memory problems after treatment (“chemo brain”) or deal with uncontrollable crying jags (a side effect of arimidex). It is often said knowledge is power and mom found strength from the knowledge of others. I’m so proud that she now shares her story with those newly diagnosed. Mom needed confidence for her journey, confidence that you find through support. I’m honored to be part of PearPoint where we offer that support daily. When my mom talks with survivors now, you can bet we’re one of the first tips she passes along.