On April 29, 2013 I was at my boyfriends house washing the dishes after dinner when I had received a phone call from my mom. It was not a phone call that anyone would ever want to receive. She was calling me to tell me that she was diagnosed with Nodal Marginal Zone Lymphoma. I was devastated. I was in utter shock and did not even know what to day to her other than “Don’t worry, you’re going to be okay”. When I got off the phone, I wanted to just curl into a ball and cry in the corner away from everyone, but I didn’t. I just kept telling myself, “She’s going to beat this. She’ll be okay”.
Once I found out about my mothers cancer, I decided to do as much research as I could on Nodal Marginal Zone Lymphoma. I learned that Nodal Marginal Zone Lymphoma is a rare cancer of the B-Cell lymphocytes starting in the lymph nodes. Signs of this type of lymphoma are things such as swelling of the neck and loss of appetite. I noticed that my mother was facing both of these symptoms along with many others as time passed.
Not long after finding out about the cancer, my mother had a lumpectomy performed. It killed me to see her lay on the couch for days in such pain. My mother is my rock. She is a single mother of three and would give anything for her children and for me to watch this woman, the woman who would do anything for my brother, my sister or myself in so much pain was just horrible.
After a few months, my mother found out about the Light The Night Walk. She knew how interested I was in trying to do whatever it was that I could to help find a cure for this terrible disease she has. Last year, 2013, was our first year participating in the walk. I registered a team about a month or so before the walk. I wanted to badly to do a fundraiser to raise as much as I possibly could to help but I had hardly any time. In just a little over a month, Team NJF raised $1092 for the 2013 Light The Night Walk. We were so proud to have family and friends walking around the common with us that night holding our team banner. I saw how happy my mother was that night and how she could see that so many people care about finding a cure.
It has been over a year since my mother was diagnosed with Nodal Marginal Zone Lymphoma. Since she was diagnosed, we try to live a healthier life style. We try to walk and eat healthier as much as we can. As of her latest doctors visit, she told everyone that she is “kicking cancer’s ass” which is exactly what I like to hear. My life changed the day I heard my mother’s diagnosis, my whole family’s life changed. As much as it changed, it taught me not to take anything for granted because you never know when something will happen. My mother is my hero, especially for currently kicking cancer’s ass. I hope that when I am older and have a family of my own, that I can be at least half the woman and mother that she has always been. I love my mother with all of my heart and soul and I cannot wait until the day that a cure is found for this terrible, terrible cancer.
-Written By Julie Spirito. Light The Night Team Captain, proud daughter, and supporter of her mother who is currently “kicking cancer’s ass.”