Thursday, September 25, 2008

My Mom was my Twitter hook

Mom turned 71 today. Happy Birthday, Mom!

It's a miracle she is with us. Last year my mom was having brain surgery on her birthday to remove a cancerous tumor which had mastitized from her stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer that she battled 6 years prior.

My mom is the reason I got hooked on Twitter. So Mom had a huge brain tumor that was growing quickly. My siblings, father, aunt and uncle huddled around my mom for over a week at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis. We needed to get the constantly changing news out to all our family, friends and co-workers on our mom's hourly, daily status change.

I asked everyone that knew Mom and could get on the web to follow me on Twitter. In 140 characters or less, I kept everyone in the know about what the doctors were saying, tests that were being ran and next steps. It was simple, instantaneous and a hell of a lot easier and far less stressful than a phone tree!

And here's the interesting thing with Twitter and my "mom-cancer-status" tweets, strangers started following me. People that had worked on drugs my mom was taking, doctors, nurses, techs - cancer survivors, brain cancer survivors even - and lots of well wishers. It was profound. We were blown away! All the followers brought us unexpected emotional lift and became a much needed sounding board for us during this endeavor.

So, thank you, Mom, for really showing me the power of twitter. And wow, I have no words for how wonderful it is to see you and Dad dancing on your birthday! Thanks for the video, seeing you two waltzing about just like you did last year in your hospital room before you went into surgery - ah, I'm getting teary just typing about it - how blessed we are to have you in our lives, Mom! You are an amazing woman and I'm so proud to call you my mom!

And thank you, Twitter friends for helping us through our time of need.

Sorry, I can't share Mom's vid or a pic with everyone...Mom likes her privacy.

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Simon Kuo said...

Great story Zena and congratulations on her continued vitality!! I can really relate, having lost my father to cancer two years ago. Best wishes on her 71st!!

Banky said...


You're so inspiring. You see the joy in life and celebrate it. It is wonderful that your mother is still with you and that the video of her dancing is probably the best expression that this life is a gift and we really should "dance like no one is watching."

Warren said...

Thanks for sharing your inspiring story. We're grateful that you're such a Twitter fan and more importantly, that your mother is now starring in her own dance video!

Anonymous said...

Smoking, particularly of cigarettes, is by far the main contributor to lung cancer. In the United States, smoking is estimated to account for 87% of lung cancer cases (90% in men and 85% in women). Among male smokers, the lifetime risk of developing lung cancer is 17.2%. Among female smokers, the risk is 11.6%. This risk is significantly lower in non-smokers: 1.3% in men and 1.4% in women.

Debbie said...

I love to read stories like this for several reasons. In the past, I worked as a cardiovascular nurse for many years. So I love to hear good things about them. And now I'm involved with a new social media tool and ...I think Twitter is so much fun and keeps me connected to others. I've made many new "friends".