lifestyle

Meet Ana. She's 44. She has 4 kids. And she has stage 4 cancer.

We’d like to introduce you to someone seriously special. 

Ana Ferguson is 44 years old. She’s got 4 kids. And she’s dying.

She wrote to us a little while ago with a beautiful proposal: Ana wants to write about her life as a dying woman. She has stage four breast cancer, and she doesn’t know how long she’s got left on this planet – but lucky for us, she wants to spend some of that precious time writing.

So, we’re bringing you Diary of the Dying. A place where Ana will share her fears, her days, and her astonishingly candid thoughts on life and death. We’re honoured that she came to us with this idea, and so excited to publish her words.

We don’t talk about dying enough as a society. And, sure, we’re all technically dying. But not all of us have a terminal illness trying to rob of us our chance to see our kids have kids and our friends grow old.

Every single person reading this will be touched by cancer, in some way. This series is for them. It’s for everyone who’s lost someone. It’s for those who have gone. And, most of all, it’s for Ana.

This is Ana’s first post for Mamamia. 

I wake to another morning on the treadmill of life to the crooning tones of Bobby McFerrin singing “don’t worry be happy now”. The song is installed on my phone in yet another attempt to surround myself with the power of positive thinking, whilst setting myself up for the day. Yup, I’ve done my fair share of Tony Robbins warm fuzzy stuff.

Like every other day, I go straight to my Facebook page because I’m a social media addict. And like every other day, I am greeted by the death of yet another friend. Like every other morning, I feel the loss of my friends to the very core of my being and like every other day, I write to their loved ones sharing their sorrow and trying to pass on some words of comfort.

I scream from my room to the troops (being my 4 teenage daughters) to get their lazy butts out of bed.  Then drag my 44-year-old aching bones into the shower to try and ease some of the stiffness and pain. At the same time, I’m listening to the inevitable World War 3 that’s going on outside my bedroom door over stockings, milk, and who gets the last muesli bar for their school lunch.

Ana.

Guess what? The hot water’s gone, kaput, not working. I’m thinking, ‘Yup okay, Precious. Pull those big girl undies up and keep going, today is another day. Listen to those words and ‘don’t worry be happy now’. You’re only 10 minutes into the day and it’s got to get better.’

The warfare has escalated outside and my four generals — who do give me ‘proud mumma moments’ sometimes — are endeavouring to prove to me that they are still hormonal horrors. The profanities and insults are being thrown left right and centre at each other. Yet again, I scream, rant rave and try to gain some element of control, whilst they look blankly through me like young women can. I feel that wonderful parenting disappointment in myself for not being a better mum, and it’s not even 8am.

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Like every other day, I wade my way through the tornado that has hit the kitchen and try to find some space to start making my green smoothie alkaline drink (I don’t care what anyone says; chocolate milk still tastes better). I swallow it down like a good little girl with my usual morning pills – all 30 of them – whilst negotiating with my sprogs who are working their usual guilt trip number on me to drive them to school.

I am so hoping by now that you are nodding your heads in agreement and that each and every one of you can feel just what that day is like. All mums live that sort of day, almost each day. It’s called life.

Sadly, there are so many mums out their leading this life with a whole new battleground to fight in each day. I’m not sure what to call us. The Stage 4 Cancer Peeps? Terminal Parents Club?  The Walking Dead?

I’m one of those mums out there trying to live a normal life, knowing that I’m dying.

Break my heart, but we are a growing breed. Each day when Bobby serenades me, I have that split second before reality kicks in that my world is perfect and then it hits me – I am living on borrowed time.

But I make myself sing along “don’t worry be happy,” pull it together and re-focus on another day of being alive. I don’t know how many of those I have left.

My purpose, in living and in dying, is my girls. I’ve got to be there for as long as I can and for them, focus on quality rather than quantity of life.

I think about ways that I can create memories for them, whilst also desperately searching for the magic bullet that is going to let me live a long life with them and be the awesome Grandma that I would have been.

One of the hardest things we face as the Walking Dead is actually trying to get through normal day to day life whist knowing that each moment may be ‘a last’ – but not dwelling on it.

How do you do that? How can we do that?

Hopefully, each person walking in these shitty shoes has found an outlet to get out the pain and fear. I don’t know why but these often tend to be creative things like yoga, beach walks, screaming, door slamming, painting and in my case, writing.

So, my beautiful Mamamia peeps, I am going to use you for my own personal therapy, whilst I rattle my thoughts, feelings and emotional rollercoasters onto your screens and share with you what I hope is a beautiful life-death journey. I hope we can embrace others out there who are facing the same challenges and just maybe give you a little giggle, tear, ray of hope and as Bobby would say… “Put a smile on your face”.

So now it is time to put the smiley face on, open the door and greet the day.

Ana Kitson Ferguson is a Mother or 4, Wife, and jack of all trades Blogger, Wellness Advisor, Integrated Medicine Cancer Advocate, Cancer Treatment Researcher, Business Woman and has been living life to fullest with Stage 4 Breast Cancer for the last 3 years. Ana shares her story through her blog and provides cancer consulting as well as recommended products that assist her in her day to day dance. For more information go to www.savingana.com 

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