Cancer patients are some of the strongest people you will ever meet. It’s a subtle strength. The type that you can’t see on the outside like weight lifters, but rather a strength of mind that’s found on the inside.
There were times when I forgot just how strong my mother was. I think it’s because I’d see her frail body and some of the limitations she was facing and focused more on helping her through that and less on her mental toughness. Shame on me, right?
There was one particular instance where mom reminded me that she is still, in fact, Cathy Scott. And she can still take care of me, even during her weakest of times.
It was the fall of 2009. August, to be exact. (If you’ve paid attention to our story, then you know why the date is so important.) I was prepping for my sophomore year at Louisiana State University. Literally a week before the start of the semester, doctors said I had to have my tonsils immediately removed.
Anyone who has ever experienced this knows that the older you are, the worse the recovery. Well, I was 18-years-old. I remember thinking, surely it couldn’t be that bad. I’m a big girl. I got this.
I woke up to a young girl crying after her procedure and thinking, wow… if only I could open my mouth! I was done, yall. Absolutely finished. I remember only wanting to sleep because it hurt too much to be awake.
Can you guess who was by my side the entire time? My mom. Walking up and down the stairs to check on me, despite the fact that her legs were weak. Making sure that I took medicine, despite having her own regimen to track. Holding me as I lay in bed, when it should have been the other way around.
I remember going to her room one day, getting in her bed and complaining to her about how much pain I was in. She just listened, sweetly smiled and encouraged me. I curled up next to her, and I was reminded of how tiny she was.
Thank God for slapping some sense into me right then and there.
Mom was in 2894 times more pain that I ever could have imagined, yet she was doing everything she could to ensure that my little tonsillectomy recovery was smooth. Even at her weakest, she was strong enough to be there for me and take care of me. This was one month before she passed away.
Looking back, I realize I had a typical 18-year-old mindset. But, I couldn’t have appreciated her more in that moment. I had no reason to complain, so I stopped and just enjoyed my time snuggling with the strongest woman in the world.
All of this to say: don’t underestimate the strength of a cancer patient. Their willpower is greater than the strength of a bodybuilder. (Nothing against bodybuilders.) And I’m blessed to have a platform to highlight those individuals and this cause.