Cherish the moments

Mother’s diagnosis highlights family’s supportive nature

Story by Langley Leverett, staff writer

The doctor left and the door slipped shut with the final verdict hanging in the air. Silence resonated and all eyes were glued on the ground, the ceiling, anywhere but the mother’s face. Everyone had thought of the possibility, but never did they think breast cancer as a definite prospect.

In 2013, sophomore Racheal Sizemore’s mother scheduled a mammogram, and test results concluded the unwanted assumption. With a record of cancerous activity in past relatives, the thought of acquiring such a disease seemed remote.

“I never thought something like that could happen to her,” Sizemore said. “When she told my family she had cancer, I cried. I thought she wasn’t going to make it and that haunted me.”

She described an internal struggle with watching her mother battle the cancer. Immersed in the horrible possibilities of her family’s future, she found it hard to remain hopeful.

“She had stage 1A,” Sizemore said. ”After her first treatment of chemotherapy, she started losing her hair. It wasn’t until the following New Year’s that we shaved all her hair off. It was very hard for me to watch her go through so much.”

Anxiety took a permanent residence in their home, and they all fretted about her mother’s health.

“We were all pretty worried and scared for her,” Sizemore said. “Everyone was staying positive about it. No one was mad or frustrated.”

Although the news was startling, Sizemore and her family weren’t  too shaken.

“I wasn’t too shocked about it.” Sizemore said. “I have a lot of relatives that have had breast cancer in the past on my mom’s side of the family,”

When the effects of the cancer started taking a toll on her mother, the family started to bond more than ever.

“I’ve always supported her from day one,” Sizemore said. “When she had cancer, everyone supported her. Our church, family, friends, and even people from work all were there for her. My sister helped out with anything she couldn’t do. When my mom started losing her hair, my dad shaved it off for her, and even shaved his own hair in support.”

Sizemore emphasizes the importance of the relationship between her sister and herself, and how she will forever care for her younger sibling.

“My parents always have told me that once they are gone, it will just be me and Hunter left,” Sizemore said. “I’ve always been there for her and always will be.”

Furthermore, Sizemore found herself turning away from her religion. She felt she was being penalized with the unknown future of her mother’s health.

“During the whole process of this experience I felt like God was punishing me for not being the best daughter for my mom,” Sizemore said. “This was really hard for me. I also questioned my faith. As I saw my church really help my family get through this process, I started growing closer to Him.”

Despite the hardships, Sizemore took the opportunity to grow in her faith, instead of being dismayed by the misfortune.

“Instead of saying I had to go to church, I now actually love and want to go to church,” Sizemore said. “I try to go to church as much as I can with my family.”

This past Race for the Cure, Sizemore and her mom decked out in pink and supported the fight against breast cancer.

“I loved seeing people run and give money for a good cause,” Sizemore said. “Lots of people ran with purpose. It was like they were finishing the race for the ones who passed away.”

With the cancer eliminated from their lives, Sizemore appreciates her mother now more than ever.

“Looking back on everything she went through, I’m glad I still have her,” Sizemore said. “I’m grateful she is still with me every single day. I cherish the moments I have with her as well.”