When I Learned that My Mom has Cancer

My sister said, “Mom has cancer.” When you hear those words your whole world changes in an instant. That’s what happened to Amy Hagerup.

Guest post by Amy Hagerup

My cell phone was going off in my purse, but I ignored it.

After five minutes, it went off again. Suddenly I remembered that my mother’s tests were being done after receiving blood transfusions to bring up her iron levels.

I listened to my sister’s words. My blood ran cold.


My mom has colon cancer.

mom has cancer


But the doctor said it was contained and they would schedule surgery within the next few days to remove it. As my heart raced, I began mentally to plan my trip to be with her during the surgery.

The next hours were a blur of trying to find a reasonable flight, communicating with my husband who was at work, and informing all my kids.

Then the second call came – this time from my brother. The CT scan revealed the cancer had spread to her liver and lymph nodes. My mom has cancer and it is Stage 4.

The oncologist met with her and my siblings and said they could not remove the cancer after all because it was so spread. But they could stop the cancer’s growth with chemo which, if she agreed, would be started in a week’s time, in increments of 48 hours every two weeks for four treatments.

My mom agreed to the chemo.

I didn’t have to rush down to her side since there would be no surgery, so I planned to fly down a week later to be with her for the first chemo treatment. (I am in Wisconsin and she is in Georgia living with my sister and just 15 minutes away from my brother. I have another sister in South Carolina.)

Have you ever had someone close to you be diagnosed with cancer?

If so, you might have walked around in a daze like I did. You try to function in your work, but you feel like a robot – not really able to put your whole self into it.

When you have someone that you love so intensely, you begin to believe that they will be there forever for you. To think of my mom actually being mortal – and someday leaving this earth – was more than I could bear.

Of course, that thought is ridiculous. We will all eventually die.

My mom is 83 years old and she has lived a wonderful life – blessing other people every single day with her prayers and interest and loving care for everyone.

While talking with the oncologist during that first appointment with him, he gave her the prognosis. He gently said, “If your body responds well to the chemo, then you probably will live another 2 years.”

“But if your body doesn’t respond to the chemo or you choose not to take the chemo, I would say you probably have about six more months to live.”

When my brother told me that, I began to cry. My mind screamed NO – I don’t want my mother to die. I love her so much. She is my angel. When my father deserted our family when I was young, my mother gave up everything to provide for the four of us kids. She would go without new shoes so that I could have new shoes. I remember her always sacrificing for us.

But as I cried out to God, He spoke to my spirit in that still, small voice. He reminded me that He has already planned every day of my mother’s life and when He calls her home, it won’t be one day before He is finished with her on this earth. And no human knows that day!

Job 14: 5 says “A person’s days are determined;
you have decreed the number of his months
and have set limits he cannot exceed.” NIV

That knowledge comforted me and I was reminded that God is still in control. 

Whether God calls her home in 2 months or 2 years or 12 years, I know that she is ready to meet her Maker face to face.

And I thank God that He gave me time to make peace with her home-going before it actually happens.

Life on earth is temporary.

That is why it is so important to communicate your love regularly because you never know when there will be no more opportunities to do so.

Hug someone you love today and every day!

hagerup_web_blue copy


Author Bio: Amy Hagerup is mother to five and Nana to 12. Amy and her family spent 23 years as missionaries in Africa where they also adopted two orphans. Amy blogs about Healthy Christian Living at http://AmyHagerup.com



  1. Diane Allen 3 Oct, 2013

    I can so relate! While still reeling from my moms death in February, we found out this spring our daughter in law was facing cancer. We are now about 6 months out, chemo done, radiation done, internal radiation done. She had scans last week, doc viisit next week
    I have to say being a full time nana was my saving grace, looking at the world through a two tear olds eyes brought me joy on sad days
    That said, I made our daughterin law my number one priority this summer, I have a wonderful friend who watched my grandson days I needed to be with my son and his wife
    Prayers for all who are fighting this disease.

  2. teresak 4 Oct, 2013

    Amen to that!

  3. Oh Diane Allen, My heart goes out to you. So sorry about your mom’s death last February. Bless you for being with your daughter in law and son so much to support them at this time. Life is temporary. I love how you said you are seeing life through the eyes of a two year old. Bless you, Amy

  4. Diane Allen 7 Oct, 2013

    Thanks Amy. Today little jack asked if we were stopping at Grandmas. Brought tears to,my eyes but glad at least for now he remembers her.
    We goalkeeper to oncologist Wednesday. Expecting good news!

  5. Gloria Danielson 7 Oct, 2013

    My older sister (69 next month) called a couple of weeks ago to inform me that she has a brain tumor. My heart skipped a few beats and now I’m still trying grasp it all. She will be having surgery at some point. I’m not sure what type of tumor. She lives in NY and I moved to CA from MA 2 years ago. I also have a younger sister that lives in MA. During the summer, the three of us spent a couple of weeks together in Maine. I will cherish the time together and the pictures that we have.

  6. Me too, Diane. Let me know. My mom’s next CT scan is Oct. 18th. I too am expecting good news! Blessings, Amy

  7. Diane Allen 7 Oct, 2013

    I will be praying for her, and you too.

  8. Thanks so much. So is the grandson that you watch not the child of your daughter in law who has cancer?

  9. Oh Gloria, I’m so sorry to hear this but am glad for the time you three sisters had together this summer in Maine. Life can change so quickly. I am praying for her brain surgery! Blessings, Amy

  10. Diane Allen 8 Oct, 2013

    No. He is our daughters son. He’s our only grandchild and will be the only one, Oyr daughter has MS. She’s doing great but feels her health is good and she’s doing so well that is not going to risk another pregnancy. When she was diagnosed at age 24 I kept thinking ” at least it’s not cancer”. Now we’ve faced both. And are still here and doing ok!

  11. I too have a young daughter who most likely has MS. She is almost 21, but the supplements she is on has kept it from progressing. Her right hand kept going numb until we got her on these supplements – then it stopped. Praise the Lord for that! So thankful for your one precious grandson.

  12. Diane Allen 8 Oct, 2013

    Seems we have a lot in common!
    When she was first diagnosed I fell apart. But then you pick yourself up and life goes on. She’s been in remission about4 yrs. divorced her husband of almost ten years. Stress level lower so helps the ms too, remarried, has Jack. Life is good for her. Always on my mind but she’s doing great. Medically diagnosed at 24, in retrospect I can see first flare at age 14

  13. teresak 8 Oct, 2013

    This is Teresa. I am so sorry about your troubles but you sound like you have strong faith and you are a strong woman. Blessings to you and thank you so much for visiting NanaHood, for commenting and for being you!

  14. teresak 8 Oct, 2013

    Amy, I appreciate your article, your comments and all you do for others!

  15. Hi Amy and others ! First so sorry to hear about your loved ones with cancer. As Amy said God knows when he will call each of us home…not a day too soon or a day to late. We must be thankful for the days we have here and much more thankful we know where our true home is !
    I will be praying for you all and I know God has each and every one of you in the palm of his hand! I haven’t been on twitter much, glad I saw the link! Hugs and prayers

  16. HI Eva, Thanks so much for the prayers. Her fourth chemo treatment starts today and then on Friday she will have the CT scan – can’t wait to hear the results. Blessings, Amy