Hi! My name is Chelsea Trinka and I am the daughter of Thriving One
First and foremost, I want to say
thank you for coming to my mother's site. I feel honored to think that
sharing my story could help even one child of a cancer patient.
To tell you a little about myself, I am 24 and I manage a sales and
marketing company. I went to FSU. Go Seminoles! Most importantly, I grew
up in a family that we called "The Team." I am an only child and have
always been extremely close to my parents, until recently.
When my mom first found out that her lump was malignant, she went home and,
of course, told my father. They were going through so many emotions that
they weren’t even thinking yet of how to tell me. They decided to go to
their favorite restaurant for dinner to try to have a “normal evening.”
While they were there, my dad passed out and was rushed to the hospital.
They thought he was having a heart attack. My mom called me and I rushed to
the emergency room. Understand that my dad is the rock of our family, so
all I could think all the way to the hospital was how I just couldn’t
imagine life without Daddy.
When I got there, they took him to another room for testing. My mom and I
had a small talk about the details of what happened and then the doctor came
in to ask my mom some questions. He wanted to know if Dad’s diet had
changed or if anything stressful had happened in his life lately. She
looked straight at him and said, “Yes, we found out today that I have breast
I felt betrayed. She hadn’t told me and it really felt like I was in
The Twilight Zone. I got upset, but it really didn’t hit me for a few
The next day, Mom’s “son,” Brutus, died during a normal dog's tooth
cleaning. It was like losing a family member, so it almost took the focus
off of Mom’s cancer.
The next week, she had surgery to remove some lymph nodes. I found out at
dinner one night that the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes. I was under
the impression that if that happened, that there was no chance of survival,
so I ran into the bathroom and proceeded to really freak out. When my mom
came in, all I could say was, “You can’t die. I can’t live without you.”
This was the first time I really saw her strength. Her reply was, “I’m not
going to die because the cancer is already gone and the chemo is just to
make sure any little bit left behind gets out of my body. This is not what
is going to kill me.”
Thank God that my mom’s friend and doctor, Dr. Glen Myers was at dinner
that night. When I got back to the table, he explained things and assured
me that just because cancer was found in the lymph nodes, it did not mean
she wouldn’t survive.
The next couple of months were hard. My mom was having chemo, but I wasn’t
around right after the treatments. I was with her only once when she wasn’t
feeling well and I just felt scared. I had never had to take care of her
before—she always took care of me.
My mom handled chemo like a champ. If it had been worse, I don’t know if I
could’ve been around at all.
Mom, Dad and me at five, Our Team!
The most important part of my story is what happened to my relationship with
my mother. Being an only child, we have always been best friends.
Hindsight being 20/20, I realize I really pulled away from my family. It
was definitely subconsciously, but I felt if I was going to lose her, it
might be easier if we weren’t so close.
She needed me then more than ever, and God forbid, if I would’ve lost her,
I would have had to live the rest of my life in regret. If I had it to do
over again, I would have used that time to get closer and cherish every
God has a plan for all of us and he will not take us one second before we
are supposed to go.
Recently, I realized what I was doing and the three of us, Mom, Dad and me,
are back to “Team” status. I’ve realized that yes, I could live without my
parents, but my life would be so empty. I want to fill it up as much as
possible while I can.
Now, instead of getting aggravated, when Mom calls because I’m having a
tough day, I pick up the phone and am so happy to her voice. How lucky am I
to have parents who care enough to call all the time?
My only advice is to look at cancer as a gift. Learn something and let it
bring you closer.
If anyone that reads this has questions or would just like someone to talk
to, I would be honored to be that person.
Daughter of Thriving One
"Granny Smith" Mom and I last year.