Faella, Amanda – Surviving Mesothelioma

Faella, Amanda

Like any high school senior going off to college, the first things that comes to mind is “moving away” and being “far from home”. I wanted nothing more than to get away from my house I lived in for 18 years and go out into the real world and experience it on my own. And that is exactly what I did.

I lived with my mother and sister and our dog. My mother, sister, and I did not have a strong relationship. We had continuous disagreements and there was always a constant tension in the household. Arguments about where I was going to go to college, how come I did not receive an A on an exam, why I was out late that night, etc. My sister, who is four years younger than I, constantly wanted to “hang out” and I wanted nothing to do with her.

I had enough that senior year and chose to go to a university 45 minutes away from home. It was far enough that if I needed to go home to get something, I would be able to. Unfortunately, freshmen were not allowed to have cars, but there were public transportation services available. Several months of living on my own in a single dorm room were great. I made lots of friends, attended several parties, and slept until noon every Saturday and Sunday. I would visit home once a month to do laundry and go grocery shopping.

I basically had it made at college until December rolled around. It was Christmas break and I was spending it with my family when my mom made everyone silent in the car ride back home. She said those words, “I have cancer”. Everyone in the car stopped breathing. My mom had breast cancer a while before and it was a difficult process for her. To have it come back was the stab in the heart we all needed.

I went back to college the following semester and realized that I needed to change. My sister and I did not get along with my father and knew if something were to happen to our mother, we would have to move in with him. From then on, I kept in close contact with my mother. I would email, instant message, and call her every chance I had to make sure everything was all right. I would stay in touch with my sister, the girl I wanted nothing to do with. I knew she would be home alone some nights my mother would have to stay overnight at the hospital and she needed to know everything would be okay. I also made the effort and went home every other weekend to help out.

Needless to say, my mother ended up having a hysterectomy on top of the bilateral mastectomy she had a couple years before. She survived cancer for the second time. She survived cancer and I survived my first year away at college. Instead of gaining the experience of living on campus, I gained the experience of becoming an adult in 4 months. I ended up transferring that following year to a college closer to home. To this day, I live at home with my almost 4-year survivor mother and my sister – and proud to say one of my best friends, too – Caitlin.

I currently am a Biology and Chemistry major and hope to go onto graduate school to study in the field of Medicine. Four years ago, I was the typical teenage girl that drove a mother crazy. Today, she tells me every day I make her proud. But little does she know, she makes me proud every day.

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