My mom died of cancer and now I'm making a planner to help those who are still fighting
It was December 6, 2013 when I first found out that my mom was diagnosed with uterine sarcoma cancer. I had recently graduated from SCU with my Bachelors in Psychology & Business and was just beginning my career as a Marketing Manager for a high-paced tech company in the Silicon Valley, when I received a frantic call from my sister saying that I had to come home to Hawaii immediately. Without hesitation, I went with my gut feeling and bought a one way ticket back to Hawaii, leaving my life and career behind.
Suddenly and without warning my family & I were thrown head first into the world of cancer. We were adapting to changes, often daily, that offered no road map, played by no rules, and had no sympathy. Feeling helpless and disoriented, we did what most people would do in this situation and relied fully on our oncologist to pave the path towards recovery. The hospital became more of a battle ground as my mom endured the grueling wounds caused by the side effects of her treatment. Although nothing about her hysterectomy or chemotherapy felt like a “treatment”, we knew there was no turning back at this point. We had to just stay patient and trust our journey.
Through God’s grace, my mom successfully completed her last round of chemotherapy. I remember her falling straight to her knees crying tears of joy, thinking all of this had finally come to an end. Little did we know that the worst had yet to come. Three months later we got a call from the doctor saying that her cancer had metastasized to her lungs. She was now diagnosed with stage 4 cancer with little to no treatment options and three months left to live. I remember instantly feeling numb right when I heard the news because I knew at that point the doctors, our only form of solace, had given up on her. It was now our job to help my mom bring out the doctor in herself. For everyone reading this right now, this is the game-changing mentality you need to have from the very beginning. You are the one fighting this battle. You should know your body and your cancer better than anyone else. The only doctor you need is within yourself. The moment I fully understood this concept was the moment the doors of opportunities started opening up.
My sister and I started researching like crazy for alternative treatment options and after doing some comparisons, we decided to go with Gerson Therapy. Throughout this time, my mom had to take a bunch of medications for her pain as well as supplements we thought would be beneficial to her. So I started to track everything she was taking in a journal in an effort to be more organized. Through my tracking, I found that her pain meds were causing major side effects like fatigue and nausea so I substituted them for essential oils and noticed this was way more efficient. As a result, I set goals for the amount of medication she could take everyday and praised her whenever that goal was reached. I did this everyday and found a huge sense of relief in having a systematic way to monitor an unpredictable illness. It gave me more control over the situation, allowed me to develop a treatment plan that best suited my mom’s needs and prepared me to take action in the case of a worsening symptom. It also allowed me to improve my mom’s quality of life by focusing my attention on the elements that were keeping her happy and pain-free.
Unfortunately, I started building upon this idea when it was already too late in the game. On November 3, 2014, I watched my mom take her last breath as she gently loosened the grip she had on my hand. I can't even put into words how hard it's been for my family and I without my mom. If you had the pleasure of meeting her, you'd know she was the type of person that could instantly put a smile on your face. I'm sad that God had to take her so soon, but I truly believe His intention was for something greater to come out of this. Everything that I've done in my life thus far has prepared me to create this planner. I used my Psychology background to integrate influences for positivity throughout the planner, my marketing background to design a beautiful planner with user friendliness in mind, and my grief to motivate me to create an effective tool that teaches cancer patients and caregivers that they can plan to beat cancer. Through this painful journey, the basis for CanPlan was formulated. And after many, MANY long nights full of tears, frustration, joy and every emotion you could ever think possible...CanPlan is finally ready to help guide the millions of people affected by cancer.