Bison Life: My mom has cancer
A personal sit down with Chamonix Martin
Published: Thursday, April 26, 2012
Updated: Thursday, April 26, 2012 14:04
It was that time of year again when Chamonix Martin was preparing to spend Christmas with her dad. That morning as she sat in the passenger seat and her mother drove her to the airport, she received news that would forever change her life. Her mother was diagnosed with cervical cancer.
“I can remember it perfectly, the day she told me. It was around 6 a.m. I don't think we made eye contact the whole time she was explaining to me what was going on. I don't remember what I said or even how I reacted at first,” Martin shared. “I just remember being in total shock and then getting on a three hour plane ride. That was easily the worst Christmas of my life.
Martin says her French and Irish bloodline mother, Carol Martin, began getting sick about three years ago. The 19-year-old junior majoring in sports recreation shares how the news gave her a wake up call.
“My mom started getting really sick a lot when I was about 16. At 16 I was kind of living in my own world, so it was a really big wake up call when all of a sudden my mom couldn't do everything for me all the time anymore,” she said. “It's been three years now and my family has gone through so much, it's almost hard to comprehend. There have been days when all I want to do is lay in bed and cry about all the ‘what if's’, but my mom never does that, so I can't either.”
Martin describes her mother as a happy, funny, glowing and “one of the coolest mom’s out there.”
“She's the first to make a joke in any situation and last one laughing at her own jokes too, she is just a fireball, that's the best way to describe her. She can rap along to Nicki Minaj, but Maroon 5 is her favorite and she loves dancing; she's one of those moms who dances in the car or wakes us up on a Saturday morning by blasting the local pop/rock radio station,” Martin laughed. “My mom is cool, I can honestly say I embarrass her more than she embarrasses me. My friends all love her, and she gives the best advice, all the time. It's kind of like being raised by Oprah, except she swears a lot.”
She also says that despite her mother dealing with cancer, Martin’s mother has shown her that “it’s never OK to have your own pity party, no matter how bad things seem” and that her mother is dedicated to her children regardless of her situation.
“2 months ago today I lost my friend Danielle [Renninger] in the car accident that's affected all of NDSU. But 2 months ago today, my mom came through for me in the biggest and most loving way, despite her own problems,” Martin said. “She taught me you can't take anything for granted, and you absolutely have to forgive everyone. You can't hold onto anger, life is way too short for that. You don't have to like someone, but you do have to love everyone. That's the biggest lesson I've learned from all of this.”
Martin shares how difficult it is for her to deal with being a student here at NDSU and having to deal with her mom not being in Fargo.
“Having an ill parent and being in school is hard. Sometimes, I feel guilty for being four hours away from home, but my mom constantly reminds me that I'm making her proud,” she said.
Chantae Busse, Martin’s close friend and a junior majoring in public relations and advertising, says Martin always has a smile on her face and remains with a positive attitude at all times.
“[She] doesn't look for people's sympathy so she doesn't really show how sad she is or how much it truly affects her,” Busse said. “Cham's strength is overwhelming and I honestly don't think I know anyone who has handled a similar situation with such grace.”
Last week, Martin received a request to be part of an auction during the 3rd annual Weible Hall cancer awareness week. The auction required selected students from all over campus to auction off their talents and skills. Students then could bid on the talents, in which proceeds went directly to the American Cancer Society.
Martin says she jumped on the request because the cause means so much to her and as a student dealing with a parent having cancer she wants to reach out to those dealing with similar situations. Martin also has advice of her own that she’d like to share:
“The absolute hardest part about it all though, is realizing that life goes on. I can be mad and crying and hating the whole World one day, but then I have to realize that no matter what's going on in my life, everything else still happens. Know that this World doesn't stop for anyone, so you have to learn to roll with the punches and keep spinning on with it,” she shared with a compassionate tone in her voice. “Seeing cancer effect your own mom, when you're so young, and she is too, has taught me a lot. I do my best to never take a single day for granted. Never lose your sense of humor; that's my one piece of advice. If you have a crazy reputation, it just means you have a really fun life. I can easily say that in the last 3 years of this up and down battle, my mom and I's lives have gotten really, really fun.”