As long as I can remember it has always been just me my mom. We live in a tiny apartment in New York. I have never met my father, but it doesn’t bother me, mom has always done everything to make sure I was taken care of. I didn’t realize it until I was older that she barely made ends meet, she did the best she could and I never suffered.
I look a lot like her, long black hair, small frame, and blue eyes. Except my breasts are smaller than hers, I'm not flat chested or anything, just an average C.
“You should really go to school for this,” moaning slightly as she ate what started as chicken marsala and morphed into something else. What, I don’t know.
“Mom,” rinsing the pan, “I don’t even know what I made.”
"But it’s delicious Mina.”
I do love to cook, but going to school for it was out of the question. There’s no way I could ever afford it. I’ve been working the last few months since I graduated from high school, trying to save but helping her more. She hasn’t been feeling well lately.
She starts coughing, “mom I really wish you’d go to the doctor.”
“I’ll be fine dear,” covering her mouth with a tissue.
She pulled it away and I saw blood, “that’s it,” grabbing my purse, “we’re going to the hospital.”
“You know we can’t afford that!”
“I don’t care. You need to go.”
Finally after three hours and two tests later, the doctor finally comes back in, “Ms.,” looking at her chart, “Ms. Walker, you’re results are back and I’m afraid it’s more than a cold. Your x-rays showed something on your lung.”
“Is it pneumonia?” she asked.
“I want to run more tests and admit you to find out for sure.”
Chasing after the doctor as he left the room, "could that be why she sleeps a lot and seems weaker?"
Looking at me, "it could be, yes. We will know more once all of the results come back."
It was nearly three in the morning by the time they finished with all of the tests and she finally got to a room. The nurses gave me a pillow and blanket so that I could stay with her.
"Mina, go home and get some rest," pulling her blanket up. I could tell that she was tired, as was I.
Laying back on the sofa, "I want to be here in the morning when the doctor comes in," she nodded her head, the pain medicine they gave her must be working.
I had one of the worst nights sleep ever, between the nurses coming in and out to check on her and this terribly uncomfortable couch. One of the nurses came in carrying a cup of coffee and I was never so thankful. "Do you know when the doctor will be in?"
She looked at her watch, "about another hour. Dr. Linden likes to do rounds before he goes to the office."
I couldn't recall the doctors name from last night, surely he didn't just work all night in the emergency room before going into the office all day. That can't be safe, can it? The door opened and in walked a man that looked to be in his early sixties, not the one from last night.
"Good morning ladies, I'm Dr. Linden. Ms. Walker I have your test results back." He glanced from me to my mother, he didn't expect me to leave the room, did he?
Slightly nodding her head, "yes, doctor."
He let out a subtle sigh, "I'm afraid there is no easy way to tell you this, but you have stage four cancer that has metastasized."
"It has spread from you lungs to your bones."
Shaking my head, still in shock, "so what is our next step?"
He glanced back and forth between us, settling on mom, "that is up to you. You can stay here and try chemotherapy treatments or you can go home and we will keep you as comfortable as possible."
Squeezing my hand, "dear would you go and get me a cup of coffee?"
"Sure mom," I didn't want to leave her but I knew she didn't want to have that discussion in front of me either.
I took my time making my way back from the cafeteria, trying to process the words that I had just heard. Cancer? My mom has cancer? I don't know a lot about medicine, but I do know that stage four was as bad as it got. I know that she has no health insurance, and we could not afford the medicine, we can't even afford this stay. I hope that she decides to fight this, she is the strongest woman I know and I don't know what I would do without her. We can figure out the money part later.
I wiped a tear away as I walked back into her room, "mom!! What are you doing?!"
A/N: This is an excerpt. The entire book will be published on Galatea on 5/20/22.