Tag Archives: moms with cancer

How To Tell Your Four Year Old You Have Cancer

Let me state emphatically that I’m sure people will say there is no right or wrong way to talk to your children about something like illness. Let me also state that I’m sure I did it wrong, but it is right for me, and for my children.

As a child, I remember vividly knowing that my own mother was suffering. There were hushed conversations, whispers, tears and anxiety that I knew and could feel, but my parents choose to do what they felt was right for the family. Back then, illness and disease were secrets kept in the family and not something that were openly discussed. A persons business was their business, and good for gossip, but it was very impolite to discuss openly or ask questions. Even when my grandmother showed us her mastectomy scars I remember feeling this was wrong; I shouldn’t know or see this. I remember her telling me when her prosthetic boob fell out of her bra in mid-sentance, while gardening and talking with a male neighbor. Like any self-respecting “gal” of her stature, she just covered it up with the dirt she was digging in and kept on with the conversation. I remember around the age of 9 or 10 when I finally asked the right question, or enough questions, when my parents finally told me my mother had Multiple Sclerosis. Wow… Still hurts to this day. I had so many questions and no where to start.

Based on my personal experience, I took a different course. My three year old (Holland) is really too young, and frankly not interested enough, to really be a part of a sit down conversation. But I wanted my 4 year old to have a different experience. I wanted Hannah to not hear rumors and whispers, and not be afraid of words like cancer. I wanted to tell her and take that power.

The night I received my official diagnosis and we knew what we thought to be the extent of the disease, we decided to talk to the kids together. Hubby really left it up to me to pick words to use, and how to shape the conversation, but he sat there by my side showing support and comfort.

Right after dinner, November 26th, 2013, I told Hannah that Mommy has something wrong with her. That there is something bad growing inside my boobies and the doctor is going to cut them off. It’s called cancer. I’m going to have to be in the hospital, but I won’t be gone long. When I come home, I’m going to feel bad but it will get better every day. Then I’m going to have to have medicine for a long time that will make me feel sick and make my hair fall out, but when it does we know the medicine is working. We talked about how she can help me with picking out hats and wigs, and since it’s only for a little while it can be fun.

It really stuck, and she has taken time to ask questions along the way. Neither of my children show any fear of the words, or of cancer. In fact, I may have done too good of a job. When my father arrived for Thanksgiving, Hannah proclaimed that “Mommy has cancer in her boobies and they’re getting cut off”. Poor Dad. But she is loving and supportive, and very in tune with how I am feeling on any given day. And my little Holland is doing just as well with such a hard topic. When her daycare director asked her how her mommy was doing, Holland stated emphatically “My Mommy got her boobies cut off! (Lifting up her shirt and showing her chest) And now she looks just like MEEEEEEEEEEE!”

Out of the mouthes of babes…

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How To Tell Your Friends You Have Cancer

I highly recommend Facebook. Don’t forget that not everyone of your friends will see you post. And be sure to tell those that actually love you, like your dad, that you have cancer before posting in Facebook. He likes to hear these things from you rather than from “friends of friends” that he’s also friends with.

This is my actual Facebook post. It was pretty cathartic.

OK people… Here’s the deal. I have cancer. In my boobies. We are parting ways forever on Friday. Sorry if I didn’t get a chance to tell you in person, on the phone, or means other than Facebook. You will hopefully understand when I tell you that if it upsets you that I didn’t tell you, sorry, but you will get over it. I promise. But I still love you and we’re still friends. Announcement over. Carry on

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The Hardest Job Of All

It’s not hard to understand that I have the “easy” part in all of this. Yes, it sucks. Yes, I get sick and feel horrible for weeks at a time. But you know what? I get to DO something. I “get” to be the one who is active in all of this. I have people supporting me at work, at my doctors visits, in Facebook and at home. My poor husband doesn’t get that. He doesn’t look like his world is crumbling around him. To look at him you wouldn’t know that he is losing sleep, worrying, driving back and forth and back and forth, all while working full time managing his office and employees, and the stress of managing the house and kids. He just has to take the scenic route, watching the mother of his children to see what it’s going to be like today. Yup… observer and loved one is definitely the hardest job in all of this.

God bless my husband…

Hubby and me

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Radioactive, Radioactive

If you’re going to get a PET scan, you should know that they insert an IV line and inject you with radioactive dye. You lie in a chair for 60 minutes, as still as you can, while the dye courses through you body. They then come and get you, allow you to pee, then take you to the imaging room. The scan itself takes between 15-20 minutes, and it’s best to close your eyes if you’re claustrophobic.

On another important note, you should know your discharge papers will state that you should stay away from small children and pregnant women. Ummm… yeah… As a mom, it really would have been nice to know that before going.

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My First Day As A “Real” Cancer Patient

1st Chemo yesterday was as good as it can be. We got there to start lab work, meet doc, start chemo at 1030am. We got in the car to go home at 6pm. LOOOOOONG ASS day!!!! The taxitol was rocky. I started feeling funky, got immediate acid reflux, followed by wave of heat induced nausea and other funk. They immediately stopped the drip, added saline, and a new histamine blocker, then sat for a while before restarting. When we restarted an hour or so later we went really really slowly. Got off and on symptoms. First I felt 1 or 2 days post flu- funky and weak but not violently ill. Then got wave of nausea that I took care of. Then later I got shaking chills with that fever onset like last week. It stayed pretty low but I was concerned. Popped more pills for the fever onset, steroids, this and that… It’s like walking a tightrope while playing whack-a-mole. They say in general I shouldn’t feel the more violent effects until today and tomorrow. Fun!

Hannah and Holland are managing as well as 3 and 4 can be expected. Hannah is on hair watch. I walked in from chemo and Hannah said “mommy! You still have hair!” Then this morning she came in my room, kissed my hand, then said “You still have hair. I just felt it.” Then she came back and asked me very sweetly if I could get up and help her. She told me “…hold my hand. If you feel weak you can squeeze my hand and I’ll be your prince.” I’m so blessed with my little people. They are a challenge and a blessing and the best thing I’ve ever done in my life.

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