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Family Bonds

Not too long ago, my half-sister Laura, my niece Ana, and my great-niece came to visit me and my family from Monterrey, Mexico. It was such a joy to see them again after not seeing them for about 20 years.

Reconnecting with family

The last time I was in Monterrey, Mexico, my great niece Maria wasn’t even born. So, I had the pleasure of meeting her for the first time.

The last time I was in Mexico was over 20 years ago. When I went, I took my four kids, my husband, and I was pregnant with my youngest. That trip would be the last trip I took with my father to see his family.

In 2000, my father was diagnosed with satge 4 Cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer). It wasn’t operable, so they started chemo, which didn’t do anything for him. Then, he went on a clinical trial, and that didn’t work. It was then that he decided to go back to Mexico and see his family one last time, and off we went.

My dad passed away in June of 2001, exactly a week after my daughter was born. I told my husband that I still wanted to continue to go to Mexico and see my family, but that never happened.

It became very hard to try to travel to Mexico with five kids and expensive as well. I got busy being a mom to five, going back to school to finish up so I could get my bachelor’s degree, and working full time. Plus, as the kids got older, they were all involved in some type of sport, and that took a lot of my time. So, I never made it back to Monterrey, Mexico, to see my family.

Embracing family despite obstacles

When I was diagnosed in November of 2014, a few of my siblings wanted to come out here to see me, and I wanted to go see them just in case I wouldn’t make it. But with everything going on with me, I just couldn’t find the time to go out there and vice versa.

We kept in contact as much as possible through phone calls, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. I kept telling my husband I was living longer and we needed to make plans to go see my family, but since I love to travel, I’m all over the place.

My niece sent me a message and told me, "Tia (aunt), we’re coming to visit you." At first, I thought she was joking, but she said, "Nope. My husband is buying me, our daughter, and my mother airline tickets to go see you."

I was so happy. I couldn’t believe that I was going to see them after 20 years. I remember getting my house and the spare room ready for them. I was so happy.

When they finally arrived, I couldn’t stop crying. I thought I would never see them again, and here they are. They stood with me for a week, and I didn’t want that week to end.

Committing to connection

It’s been two years, and I promised myself that I wouldn’t wait for so long to see them again. But the reality is that it’s sometimes hard, and financial issues can occur. But as of now, I’m not going anywhere, and I made a promise to myself to do whatever it takes to see them.

With this disease, there’s plenty of uncertainty. But we still have to plan and set goals. Even if you don’t achieve them, it helps us to continue the fight against lung cancer.

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