the Oregon trail
In August 2015 my mom was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer. Since her original diagnosis, she's had two major surgeries and a handful of different treatments including both chemo and radiation. She's been in and out of hospitals and clinics and emergency rooms. At one point she was given a year to live, but thankfully it's been over a year since and she's still strong and determined.
Having a sick parent is not something I would wish on anyone. It's like seeing your favorite super hero brutally wounded. It's not something you expect and yet cancer is such a common thing, so its only natural that it would leave it's mark on my family in one way or another. This blog is not a sad one, though.
Ever since my parents originally split, my mom has been quite the vagabond. She's always traveling around the US, staying with friends and seeing the country. Her last adventure had her in Michigan for a few months and now that the snow cleared, she decided it was time to head back to the Pacific Northwest. So I hopped on a plane and we packed up her car and headed back on our own Oregon trail.
We made stops in Chicago, Badlands National Park, Mt. Rushmore and Yellowstone National Park. Mom had her first Airbnb, we passed what felt like hundreds of billboards in South Dakota, we ate a ton of cashews, listened to hours worth of podcasts, and soaked in all the beautiful sights along the way. There were a lot of long talks about health food and lame cancer doctors, traveling, moving and growing up. I'm very proud of my mom. She's very proud of me.
I'm thankful for every moment spent stuck in a tiny car with my mother (and her road rage). I'm also thankful that she's entirely too stubborn to let cancer get the best of her. Everyone says this and it's cliché as can be but life is so short. Spend time with your family, go see the country, and definitely invest in a national parks pass because it's worth having.
* Special thanks to our Chicago Airbnb hosts. They were two of the most genuine people and I absolutely will be going back to see them asap. You can find them on Instagram at riverandtree_b_and_b or on Airbnb here.