Dear new cancer mom
Dear Future #Cancer Mom,
This is going to be hard. This is going to be the hardest
thing you have ever had to deal with. You are going to hear the words: your
child has cancer. Your child is sick. There is nothing you can do about it.
There is nothing you could have done differently. And there is nothing that is
going to change their diagnosis.
You are going to freeze. Your heart is going to stop. Your
lungs aren’t going to be able to exhale. You won’t be able to direct your eyes
around the room. You are not going to be able to think. You are going to cry
and scream and sit in silence, all within minutes of each other. You probably
aren’t going to know what to do next. If you’re like me, you’ll have your child
in your arms. You are going to pray that you arms don’t give out.
You are going to be extremely thankful that at that very
moment in time….. your child is alive.
You are soon going to learn a new meaning of trust. You are soon
going to learn to a new meaning of hope, strength, fear, and faith… All in ways
you would have never had to imagine. All in ways that wouldn’t have made sense before.
All in ways that others will never understand.
You will have to trust your child’s life with strangers. You
are passing your innocent child into the arms of different men and women. These
men and women are doing everything in their own power to save your child’s
life. You are going to learn to trust doctors, nurses, and paramedics. You are
going to learn that no question is a dumb question when it comes to your child’s
You soon will be taught what a port or a central line are
and how they work. You will learn your child’s blood type. You’ll learn every
type of chemo and steroid your child will be on. You’ll learn that strangers
really do become family. Nurses and doctors will become great friends to you. I
hope you’re not scared of urine, vomit, or diarrhea. Because you are about to
witness an endless amount of each in the next few years.
You are going to wish you could trade places with them a
million times a day. You are also going to learn how to stand up for yourself,
and most importantly for your child. You are your child’s biggest advocate. You
know your child better than any doctor or nurse that you will come in contact
with. (But don’t worry, you are also going to meet some pretty amazing nurses
who will become second best. They will also know your child, and so many
others, like the back of their hands, and they… they will also advocate with
you.) You are going to have to learn how to say “no” and “that’s enough” when
your child is pushed too far. You are probably going to yell a few different times.
But don’t worry, most understand, and they won’t take it personally.
You also will learn some pretty scary things. You will learn
how to hold your child just right in your arms as they’re injecting them with “sleepy”
medicine, so you can pass them over to an anesthesiologist so their doctor can
perform one of many different procedures they’ll receive over the next few
years. You’re going to have to figure out a routine on how to restrain your
screaming and squirming child so the nurse can access their port. You’ll also
learn how to count heart beats per minutes and even breaths per minutes. You
might see your child stop breathing, they will probably turn grey. You’ll never
be happier as when you finally hear them gasp for air or when the nurses turns
the oxygen up and you see their chest go up and down again. You might have to spend
a few nights in the PICU, but don’t worry, after a few hours in there, you will
soon realize that things could always be worse, much worse at most times. You
might have to ride in the back of ambulance a few times, holding you child’s hand,
telling them It’ll be okay. Even though inside you are absolutely terrified. And
that ride will be the longest ride of your entire life. You’ll also see your
first little bald head roaming the hallway. It will probably take your breath
away. You almost might feel like you want to vomit right then and there.
Because that, that will be your realization that it will soon be your child’s
bald head walking up and down the hall. That will remind you that your child
indeed does have cancer.
Then there is death. You will go through your first
#ChildhoodCancer death. You will be terrified. You will be scared. You will be
sad. Actually, you will be absolutely heartbroken. You will feel a huge amount
of guilt. Why is that poor mother sitting in the chair losing her child? You
will feel severe #Anxiety. What If someday that is you sitting in the chair,
sobbing hysterically at the fact that your child indeed won’t make it through
the night. It doesn’t get easier. It never will. It will actually become tragically
harder as you sit next to one of your best friend’s as her child takes his last
breath. That, that will hit you unilike any other.
You will research and research until there’s nothing left to
read. You will become an absolute professional on your child’s cancer. You will
know every pre-med, injection, chemo, and steroid name by heart. You will be
thankful when your child finally poops, after being in agony for days. You will
be bombarded with love and even with hate. You will hear that you should try
this and that. Ignore it.
You will pray. You will pray like hell for every child you
meet. You will go through hard times and you will witness your friend’s
children go through even harder times. You will be there for them, because no
matter how hard it is for you to watch, you know it’s even harder for them to
Lastly, you will hope and you will have faith. You will hope
with everything you have that you will never have to hear the words: there’s
nothing more we can do for your child. You will have faith that your child will
be this. You will have faith that your child is stronger than cancer.