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Racing on Mother’s Day—for Mom

Megan Clements shares a story of courage and new life carrying out a beautiful legacy

Megan’s son, Patrick, and her mom on her last day of radiation.

Mom was first diagnosed in January 2015. Mom went in to the ER from a cut on her foot that quickly turned gangrene due to complications with her diabetes. The doctor met us in the waiting room after many tests and concluded “Your wife, your Mom, has breast cancer in both breasts. We also need to do an emergency amputation of her leg or she will not make it through today.” I was 3 months pregnant with my first child and as thoughts raced through my mind I was so scared I would lose my Mom before my child got here. 

I had to take a moment for myself at the hospital and a lovely woman came in to check to see if I was ok. She helped me realize I would need to advocate for Mom because Mom was so scared of diagnoses and prognoses – and all doctors for that matter. From that point on I was a part of my Moms journey from start to finish. I never stopped advocating, and I never stopped speaking up for what Mom felt she couldn’t say. 

Over the next 2 years, Mom fought for her life and with my Dad, brother and I by her side to ask all of the questions to ensure that Mom received the most appropriate and realistic treatment possible. Because of vascular issues that arose from her amputation, Mom was only a candidate for so much treatment that wouldn’t interfere with her cancer and overall health. 

Mom was constantly in and out of hospitals and rehab centers for her cancer and her leg that she was unable to attend many events that she would have loved to have been a part of. However, she never complained – she always had a smile on her face no matter what. 

In April 2016, my husband and I found out we were expecting again. Mom said “I hope you have a girl so you can experience what I got to experience with you and your brother.” 

In front of Megan’s childhood home; the last picture taken of the family before Barbara passed away.

Over the next few months Moms cancer began to spread more – and radiation began. However it was evident that unfortunately the cancer was taking over Moms body.

In August 2016 we found out that sure enough, we were having a girl. Unfortunately just less than 2 weeks later, we found out Mom did not have much longer to live – a few months they gave us. We knew it was time for hospice.

Mom wanted to finish out the last of her treatment first with pride. On the last day of her radiation treatment, the staff rang the bell and cried with her. Mom walked out with a smile on her face knowing she did all she could. She handled life with such positivity and grace.

The last few months of her life, Mom continued to only care most about one thing – the happiness of my Dad, brother and I. Mom always exuded unconditional love. Also, her grandchildren were such an amazing part of her life. I was fortunate to help since I was stay at home Mom with my son and expecting my daughter in January. I could spend almost every day helping to take care of Mom.

The week before Mom passed away and while she was still able to speak, we had a heart felt conversation.

Mom told me to continue to be the strong daughter and mother that she knew I was. She told me that she could not have asked for a better daughter and that she would always wish one thing for me – for my daughter Mary Kate and I to have the same relationship she and I did. I can still see the strength in her eyes through her tears.

On December 17th, 2016 Mom passed away. The few weeks following with the birth of my daughter was so incredibly hard to do without my Mom being physically present with me. 

This past year has challenged me as a person. However, I know one thing:

I will continue to honor my Mom’s legacy which is why on Mother’s Day at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure I will run (being a first time runner) for my Mom. 

For almost 20 years, my family and I have been Susan G. Komen supporters. In lieu of our wedding favors,  flowers for Mom after passing, and countless walks over the years we have done all we can to show our support. So many people close to us in our lives have been diagnosed (some living, some who have passed) and after December 2016, I knew I had to keep the support going and never stop advocating or fighting for a cure. 

I look forward to the emotional run on Mother’s Day this year, as I know my Mom will be so proud of this accomplishment and know that I am doing this in her honor.

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