I knew my family was close, but it wasn’t until my mom was diagnosed that I realized how bonded we truly were.
In 2006, our mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and underwent a hysterectomy and several rounds of chemo.
It was an experience that bonded my family, as we rallied around Mom. Dad and all of us were there each step of the way.
I remember going with Mom and Dad to her chemotherapy appointments; it was the first time I remember any close family member going through cancer treatments. Each of us took our turns and helped with what we could — Mom and Dad said that is why they had four children.
Mom would complete her treatments and be good for a time, and then treatments needed to start back up again. She was a fighter, but it did change how we celebrated things as a family. Mom used to do everything, and she really enjoyed it, but as the chemo took its toll, we all pitched in to help with birthday dinners and holidays to keep the traditions going. We even pitched in for everyday tasks.
In 2015, Mom lost her battle with cancer and again our family rallied together — this time to be supportive of our dad who was now 78 years old and, for the first time in 55 years, without his wife by his side. I knew our family was close, but going through all of this made me realize how close and blessed we really were.
Three years of growing stronger together as a family continued until August 2018 when I, the first-born daughter, was diagnosed with endometrial cancer. My husband was my rock along with the rest of my extended family members. One of the hardest conversations I ever had was telling Dad that I had cancer after what he went through with Mom. It was tough, but together we supported each other.
It was now my turn to be strong, and I turned to my husband and my faith. I had a full abdominal hysterectomy, several rounds of chemo and radiation in between. I learned how incredibly strong my faith was and I was as an individual.
I appreciated the support from everyone during the process, including all my family members, my church family and my work family.
In April 2019, we found out all the treatments worked, and I was cancer free; we were so thankful. I learned to appreciate what you have, be thankful for the people around you and remember to just take one day at a time.
Life continued, and I found out in September of 2021 my brother (the youngest of four siblings) was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Fortunately, they caught it early and the cancer was surgically removed. Again, our family supported our brother with his journey. He is currently cancer free, and we are very thankful.
My cancer journey has taught me that life is a blessing, and that I can be a blessing to others as well as remembering I am worthwhile of other people’s support. We never know where our path will lead us, but if we look around and take it all in, we will find something to be thankful for and just maybe pay it forward.
This post was written and submitted by Kathy Snyder. The article reflects the views of Kathy Snyder and not of CURE®. This is also not supposed to be intended as medical advice.
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