October 28th, 2015
| Fighter: Breast Cancer
When dealing with cancer, it can be hard for many mothers and fathers to find a way to put themselves first, when they are so used to caring for their families above else.
In this post, one cancer mama opens up about how she's been struggling with getting the support that she needs because she is hesitant to show what she's really going through. She's so used to being the strong one for her family, which has caused her to hesitate in telling her family that she's not doing well, and it's caused her family to not be able to see the truth. Although it's difficult, it's important to be willing to let people see you as you are during cancer. To all of the mothers and fathers out there, you have to put yourself first. Read more for one Cancer Mamas letter to all of the others out there.
Dear Cancer Mamas (& Papas),
I know that you're scared. I am too. I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Invasive (and aggressive) breast cancer in May, after having been diagnosed with stage 3 Malignant thyroid cancer in April 2014. I have one month of chemo left and then surgery and radiation. It sounds like it’s almost the end, but then I found out that the cancer may be spreading and that my thyroid cancer may not be gone. So yes, I am scared.
I know that you're tired. I am too. Although I finished raising my grown children, I've been raising my six year old grandson since he was 3 weeks old. He drains me mentally because he's so hyper and needs fun-intelligent interaction, educational stimulation, and watching constantly. I don't get any real help in the house from my kids and I can't (or won't) ask help from my siblings because they have families of their own, busy lives, and problems of their own. My husband works out of town and can't help because when he is home, he needs rest too.
I know that you don't want to let your family down. I don't either. My family has always seen me as the stronghold when things get tough; the one who's always instilled encouragement and positivity. I have no idea how to tell my family that I'm really tired, and that I really need help. Every time I give a hint of how I'm really feeling, they dismiss it – either for my sake, or for their own. So instead, I remain quiet – but then everyone tells me, "oh, you'll be alright..." But they don't understand that I'm really not "alright."
I know that you need rest. So do I. I keep a positive and cheerful attitude most of the time but I also have those days when I just want to cry. Recently, my days, pain, and weariness are worse. My body feels like it's going give way. My bones, brain, and internal organs are always hurting and I'm so very tired of not feeling well all the time. I used to hear people say "I'll rest when I'm dead and buried", but do they know what they really are saying? We need rest now so that we can have more time to live and be here for our families.
I know that none of this means you're giving up. Neither am I. Cancer does not have a hold of us. I haven’t and I won’t give up. I still have too much to do and I want to be around for future grandkids. We are stronger than this, but we really need some rest, so that we can get back up and keep fighting.
I know that you're not alone. Even though I've felt like I am, too. I'm writing this so that you know that there are other cancer mothers and fathers out there dealing with so many of the same problems. If we can't lean on others in our life, let's lean on each other.
So where do you go now? Well, start by figuring out what it is that you really need. For me, I know that I need to be open with my family and to ask them to have more consideration. I need my kids to "grow-up" and take responsibility. I need a nanny for my grandson. I need a personal caregiver and a helper. (Besides all this, I need a maid and cook too! I'm too tired for those tasks too). And...I need the money to pay for it all. Lol. I know that I may not be able to get all of these things, but at least I'm being honest with myself, and it gives me a place to start.
Your Fellow Cancer Mama
What other advice to you have for parents juggling cancer and family life?
(Image courtesy of the DepositPhotos)
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