August 11, 2005-My grandmother died of lung cancer.
August 23, 2012- My grandfather died of liver cancer. I was in the room
2016- The room was dark and quiet — except for the slow, concentrated breaths I took.
Her eyes, closed; her mouth, frowning. The nurses came in periodically and routinely but she was nowhere to be found, the doctors had given her hours. My mother squeezed my hand and the next second she was gone. On July 11, 2016 I came home to Brownsville, Texas to watch my mother die. I can replay this day in my head like it was yesterday. I knew it was the day that cancer, the nagging pain my mother felt in her stomach, would win the fight.
That summer on July 1, 2016 I began a mission’s trip in Taiwan volunteering at an
English camp but when my mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 liver cancer I came back. There are a total of 8,148 miles between Brownsville, Texas and Taipei, Taiwan. I cried for twenty-four hours straight on the airplane until my body could no longer produce more tears. Stage 4 meant that the cancer was everywhere in her body. The prognosis was 1 month, which turned into 1 week in the hospital. By the time I made it back to the dark hospital room my mother was unconscious. I like to believe she recognized my voice when I came in but the truth is I won’t ever know. I thought time and death were the enemy but I realize now it was the cancer. At the age of nineteen on July 11, 2016 at 1:16 am my mother took her last breath. My mother was afraid of doctors and hospitals. She was afraid that her lack of health insurance would lead doctors to ask her about her immigration status thus deporting her back to Mexico. I still can’t fathom the strength it took for her to live for five years with the constant nagging stomach pain. The very system employed to protect us was the very system my mother feared the most. This is why I want to bike. My mother was afraid of becoming a burden to her family. She was afraid of the debilitating factors that come with cancer. She was afraid of not having enough money to pay for hospital bills given her immigration status. She was afraid my sisters and I would not achieve our dreams. She was wrong. This is why I believe in Texas4000. I don’t want to bike for inspiration or to be heard. I want to ride for my mother and everyone else who fears cancer. I want to ride to say my final goodbye.
My mother died of liver cancer. I was in the room.