The Christmas That Changed Everything by Cassie Bowers

I can remember that call we got, that horrible call. We were expecting a call, just not the news we wanted. My grandma had the phone on speaker when we got the news that she has lung cancer.

 When the doctor said that, she started crying. I told my sister to go to her room and cry, because someone has to be strong for grandma. I held her while she cried, and it was breaking my heart, but I didn’t shed a tear. I waited till she was done crying before. I let my emotions out. I spent weeks being sad and crying at just the thought of it. The doctor said she needed to start chemo as soon as possible. She refused it for a while and always said she was not doing it.  She was in denial for so long. She would always say we didn’t know what was going on, but we did. 

 My pap convinced her that she needed to do chemo if that was the only way she could get better. Seeing her have to go through chemo was so hard. It drained her so much. She lost some hair, but not a lot. I promised her that if she lost too much hair and ended up having to shave her head that she wouldn’t do it alone. I was going to do it with her no matter what,  and I have still kept that promise. My grandmother was a smoker, so even though she did chemo, she still smoked when she got the chance. She lied about it. 

Sometimes when we would tell her not to, she would have a mean comment saying she was going to do it no matter what. She had no shame about it. We all had to deal with how she handled things, even though it was a really hard thing to do. After a while, we all learned how to handle it better, and it made it a little easier to deal with.  We did everything we could, and we worked as a team. She had so many chemo treatments.

She went to the doctor, and we found out that one part of the cancer cells shrunk but the other side got larger. It felt like every time we went to the doctor it was always one step back and never forward. She has stage three lung cancer, so we got on her when she didn’t listen. She was definitely a stubborn old woman who did not want to be in hospitals for hours, which I get, but she needed this. She knew she needed it too. She had her good and bad days. Sometimes it felt like it was more bad than good. This was the toughest thing we had to deal with.

My grandmother is my entire world, and I don’t know what I would do without her. I hated when she didn’t listen to us because it made me so mad at her when she didn´t. I knew this was not a good time to be getting mad at her, but sometimes I couldn’t help it. All I wanted was for her to listen, and she wouldn’t even do it for us. I guess that is what people do. They would rather do what they do, no matter what the consequence is. It got to the point where I didn’t trust her to be honest with me, so any time I got the chance, I would snoop around to see if she was still smoking. 

Snooping is a good thing when I have a reason to snoop, that’s how I look at it. All we wanted was for her to get better and everyone telling me it was going to be okay, was not helping. I didn’t want to get excited and nothing good happened, but I also didn’t want to think negatively, so I was stuck right in the middle. As it went on it felt like nothing good was ever coming out of this. It was more bad news than anything and she wasn’t helping it either. 

We tried to watch out for COVID as much as possible for her, but that didn’t work out too well. We all ended up getting COVID but she got it the worst. On top of all that she even got pneumonia. She can’t even do chemo because they refuse to do it till she is back on track. Now we don’t know if her cancer is worse or better. I hate it so much not knowing if she is going to be okay.

She was in and out of the hospital all the time for weeks. It got to the point where she has to be on oxygen pretty much all the time. It felt like it was never ending. Having both of those messed with her oxygen levels so bad. It would never stay where it should. She can take it off when it is where it needs to be. As soon as it drops it has to be right back on, but she doesn’t really listen. Here lately she hasn’t been feeling good and she is on so much medication. 

She is always tired and can barely ever stay awake. I hate seeing her like this, but I know this kind of stuff takes time and patience. Never think negatively with this stuff, no matter how hard it is. It is a surprise and a kick in the butt. As long as you work as a family and stick together you can get through it. My family and I have been, and it is working out better than we all thought.

We still struggle all the time but look at it this way. Never fight or argue because you never know when it’s someone’s last day. Love like it’s your last. I know it sounds sad, but it’s how I look at things now. Having something like this happen to you or a family member changes your life completely. It makes you look at things differently, it could be for the good or the bad. 

Just stick together through thick and thin, and there will never be problems you can’t handle. It might seem like you can’t get through it,but I promise you that you can as long as your family is right by your side. Family is so much more important than anything else in the world. In my family no one fights alone EVER! We fight together.

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