Over the years, I’ve begun to realize that life is shaped by the unexpected. The biggest impact on you and the course of your years will be the things you don’t see coming, the things you never planned for. I look at my life, and the things that have made me who I am today are things that I didn’t anticipate: abruptly moving to the Philippines for two years when I was ten, which gave me a real look at what life is like on the other side of the world. Slicing my left eye open when I was thirteen, leaving me in recovery for three months and a scar on my cornea. Ellie, the starving feral kitten who, among other things, climbed into someone’s car engine and rode 100 miles on the freeway before I rescued her. And of course, uploading a silly little makeup video to YouTube five years ago, thinking nothing of it…
I’ve always been very private online when it comes to my personal life and family, but today, I would like to talk to you about my beautiful mother. She is the most wonderful, intelligent, strong, caring woman I’ve ever known — and yes, I understand everyone says this about their mother, but I mean it: this woman is a gem. She is unparalleled in character. She is my person: my best friend, biggest fan, and greatest guide in life.
Which is why my world shattered when she was diagnosed with incurable cancer.
Cancer. The “C” word. We’re all aware that it’s around us. Most people know somebody who has been affected by cancer, or have even experienced it themselves. It’s in the books, the movies. We see it in celebrities and public figures. It always seemed so common to me… until it touched my mom.
How is the earth still spinning? How can people be going about their day? How can’t the entire world know that MY mom has cancer? How can’t they feel it?
I realize this must be how it is for everyone. Your world completely stops, and it feels unnatural to watch everyone else’s keep spinning. You feel very alone, but you aren’t — there are almost fifteen million people in the US alone suffering from cancer. Fifteen million people and their loved ones.
My mom has lung cancer that at the time of diagnosis had spread to her liver, lymph nodes, and bones. She exhibited virtually no symptoms at the time, except for a painless lump that appeared on her neck, prompting her to see a doctor. My family and I couldn’t believe it. Lung cancer? She hasn’t smoked a day in her life. She’s a healthy person! She’s a workaholic in a career that she loves, and she spends her free time staying active, working out in her yard or golfing.
While doctors have deemed her case incurable, we have not lost hope. My mom is the strongest person I know, and if anyone can be an outlier, she can. I’ve heard so many miracles about people with a terminal cancer that magically respond to treatment and live another 20 years. If they can do it, I know there’s a possibility she can too.
I wanted to do this update to let you all know what’s going on in my life, and why things with my videos have been so sporadic lately. I’ve been putting all of my energy into being with my family and helping my mom any way that I can.
This isn’t to say that all days are hard, or bad, or that I’m sad all the time. It’s amazing how the brain will compartmentalize this level of stress and emotion. There are days where we are genuinely all happy, laughing, smiling, and I go about my normal life: filming, seeing friends, etc. When you see me smile in my videos, it’s real. It’s a happy day, and I’m a happy girl. But there are sad times too, the nights where I curl up and sob for hours on end. It’s a rollercoaster of emotion.
I am very lucky to have great people in my life who are here for me in this time. Friends, family, and neighbors have all been so emotionally supportive and helpful, and words cannot express how appreciative I am.
The things that shape your life and the person you become will not be things you expect. This has never been more true for me than it is now.
EDIT: I am so touched by the response this post has gotten. Each and every one of your comments is helpful and appreciated. My mom has read them too, we feel so blessed to have so many wonderful people out there sending love our way. Thank you, thank you, thank you.