Student struggles with mother’s diagnosis, continues to persevere

High school can sometimes be a rocky road for students just with their classes, but freshman Esmeralda Castillo had a whole new path coming her way. Just recently, Castillo had found out that her mother, Dora Ochoa, was diagnosed with stomach cancer.

“One day we were having a conversation and she said, ‘Mami, I want you to take care of yourself’, and at first I just thought she was giving a typical ‘mom lecture,’” said Castillo.

Castillo was confused and began to worry about what her mother was trying to hint at.

“My mom began to hint that she had cancer, and she told me ‘I’m not gonna be around for much longer,’”said Castillo.

Little did Castillo know that her mom would finally tell her the secret she had been keeping.

“After I had kept pushing her to tell me, she had finally broke and told me she had been diagnosed with stomach cancer,” said Castillo.

Ochoa had kept the secret away from all her children to keep as normal as a lifestyle as possible.

“She had been going to doctors appointments for a month or so before she had decided it was time to tell me,” said Castillo.

After the truth was out to Castillo she began to go to her appointments with her mom, cherishing every second she could with her.

“She has her treatments usually on Mondays, or Wednesdays,” said Castillo, “she doesn’t like going alone, so if I’m unable to go she will cancel and reschedule just so she has someone to comfort her there.”

Rescheduling can sometimes be a hassle, because it doesn’t always fit into the family’s schedule.

“We drive to Wichita, most of the time right after practice, once we get there her treatment takes about an hour, and then we have an hour travel back home,” Castillo said, “sometimes it just seems like it won’t fit in because of everything else going on in the world.”

The news was heartbreaking for Castillo and it has affected her not only at home, but in school too.

“When she first told me, I didn’t want to be at school,” said Castillo,”I didn’t want to be anywhere away from my mom, because I realized I only have so much time left with her.”

Although the news was hard to take in, Castillo has tried to make the best of what left she has with Ochoa.

“After she told me I began to appreciate everything she does for me even more,” said Castillo, “I can’t imagine being without my mom, and the thought of the of her stomach cancer taking over her bothers me. She means so much more to me than I ever thought.”