Dealing with cancer in the family

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Nicole Cramer works in the math department as a geometry teacher. Cramer was sitting in her class grading papers.

Nastazia Moshirfatemi, cub writer

Nicole Cramer is a teacher in the math department, but math lessons aren’t the only lessons she enjoys teaching her students. Nicole Cramer spends nearly 15 minutes every day sharing stories of her past with her students. The stories that resonate most are the ones about her mother being diagnosed with cancer.

On Sept. 17, 2009, Paula Cramer, Nicole Cramer’s mother, was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. This news brought change to her whole family. When her daughter, Nicole Cramer, found out, she began to look at life in a different perspective.

“All I kept thinking is, this isn’t real, this isn’t real, like it just didn’t feel real, it felt like a bad dream,” Nicole Cramer said.

Nicole Cramer and her mother, Paula Cramer.
Nicole Cramer and her mother, Paula Cramer.

Paula Cramer was a strong fighter who never gave up. She didn’t act like she was ill, and made the best out of everything; she maintained a positive attitude. She tried to resume her normal life as much as she could; she didn’t stop going to work and continued to go on walks every day.

“When she [Paula Cramer] went through chemo, she was such a fighter and she was so good about every single step of everything she did,” Nicole Cramer said. “She just tried to make the best of it, she knew that she had been diagnosed with something that was out of her control, and she was just going to listen to the doctor’s, and maintain a good attitude, and do whatever she could do from her end,”

Nicole Cramer had to face the possibility that her mom might not live any longer. Her whole family started to take on new roles and it brought them closer to one another.

“It made me face some realities that made me a stronger person, and it made my family stronger and it [brought] us closer together,” Nicole Cramer said.

Nicole Cramer really values what she has learned from this experience. She learned to appreciate life, more than she did before, and the people in it.

“One of the most amazing things about the whole experience, besides it making my family [members] closer, was it showed me how amazing life really is, and how many wonderful people I have in my life,”  Nicole Cramer said.

Audrey Park, sophomore, and also a former student of Nicole Cramer, finds Nicole Cramer’s stories inspirational and worth listening to.

“I loved hearing her [NIcole Cramer] stories every day, they were so inspiring and she really put us in a good mood before the class began,” Park said. “no matter what story she told, I always seemed to learn something from them, and I really appreciated that.”

In 2012, Paula Cramer got her two-year checkup and the doctor says everything looks healthy and there are no signs of cancer. Nicole Cramer is glad, not only because her mother survived, but also because she knows she became a stronger person from this experience.

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