Mothers with cancer

Have you ever read my comments?  I mean, have you ever really, really read my comments?  I do, and my heart breaks.  So many women are coming here now, finding me after their own cancer diagnosis or that of a loved one, and looking for support.  I am doing the best that I can, emailing each one and offering support when I can, but honestly, I don’t think I have the reserves to do this all on my own.

I can’t do it all on my own.

It’s only been 5 weeks since I finished radiation myself, and I haven’t even had my first scans to see if the cancer is really gone yet.  I’m doing well (oh, this week has been fabulous — I will tell you all about it soon!), but I’m really troubled by this new development.  I want to help.  I want to help all the women who come here needing love and support and encouragement, especially as they figure out how to talk to their children about cancer.  But they need more than just me.

I think they need all of you.

I’m starting a group blog for mothers with cancer.  It’s just a blog, a space for moms with cancer (and their friends and those who love them) to come and talk about their struggles, their fears, their hopes, their joys.  Their delight in another day with their children.  Their experiences as they battle this thing, for the first or the third or fourth time.  Their hope for the future, and the legacy that they wish to leave.  It won’t take the place of anyone’s individual blog/work, but I’m hoping that several moms with cancer will be willing to crosspost an essay once every week or two so that we can gather together in one place and see what is really going on.

Perhaps we’ll be dealing with the same issues; perhaps it’s a totally individual experience.  I don’t know.  What I do know is that I have gained strength this year from visiting friends and their blogs (Stella, Sarah, Aimee, Angela, Judy, Tina, Andrea, Sarah S, One MWC, Jess, Susan R, I’m talking to you), and seeing how they deal with these difficult issues as I do as well.  It’s kind of a strength in numbers thing. 

You all have nurtured me; you have held my hand; you have helped me beat cancer, of all things.  Team WhyMommy has WON this game.  I love you all, and I am so indebted to you.  (And yes, Andrea, I do have a book proposal in draft, just to thank you all — anyone know what to do with it?)  I certainly don’t want you to leave, but I think that there are enough moms coming here looking for something that maybe together we can help.

Together, we can help each other, and we friends of those with those with cancer can help those who are fighting it right now. 

For, let’s remember, 1 in 3 of us will eventually fight cancer.  It’s never easy.  But my heart goes out right now in particular to those with little ones; for, whether you tell them right away or they’re too young to know, this will affect them for the rest of their lives.  It’s a critical time, and there is very little advice out there on how to get through it (I know of only two children’s books and a couple web pages here and there).  Maybe together we can pool our resources and gather the information in one place.  We can post about our own struggles, and things that helped.  We can figure out together how to help our children.

That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?  Figuring out how best to raise our children?  That doesn’t change when mommy gets cancer.

What do you think?  This is just a germ of an idea right now, but I think its time has come.  I’d love to hear feedback in the comments — and anyone who’s interested in joining the group blog as an author (you don’t have to be a mom with cancer, but it helps) or helping in another way (Jessica has already volunteered to help promote the new site, to get the information into the hands of moms who need it) is very welcome to join in.  The end result I hope is an answer to my very first fear: that, while fighting cancer, my husband, babies and I would be all alone.  I needed to hear those magic words that now I want to pass on to all moms with cancer, frightened or emboldened, who may need to learn to accept support instead of always giving it:

You are not alone.

37 Responses to Mothers with cancer

  1. margaret says:

    I’ll help pass the info on. I remember a few months ago, a friend asked about what they could do for a friend who was diagnosed and I referred her here to your list of ideas.

  2. Jenster says:

    I think it’s brilliant. When I was a mom with cancer it seemed that all my BC support was by women with grown children. Sadly, I eventually found other moms with children, some younger than mine, some older. I found out it didn’t matter what age the dependent children were – the struggles were just as difficult. Maybe different, but just as difficult.

    I would be thrilled to be a part of this. I can come at it from the perspective of a mom with a 10 and 13 year old.

    (BTW – I read all your posts, but very seldom do I respond. Mostly because someone else has already said what I would have said. You are in my thoughts and prayers, though.)

  3. justenjoyhim says:

    I’m in. We have our very wonderful family therapist Dr. Smart Cookie who has lead us through what and how much to tell Nate.

  4. Lindsey says:

    Yes. I want to help.

  5. Amy says:

    I think this is an excellent idea. Discussion forums, maybe a live chat option, a real community for people who are dealing with cancer and being mothers at the same time. Brilliant.

    Somehow I knew that you would take cancer’s lemons and make lemonade out of them. You rock, lady. You truly rock.

    1 in 3? That’s terrifying.

    Hugs,
    Amy @ http://prettybabies.blogspot.com

  6. Sarah S. says:

    I am in! I think it is an awesome idea. I am sorry that there are so many out there that need this but I truly think it will be a good thing. I will do anything I can !

    I am glad you are doing well. You are always in my thoughts!

    You rock!

  7. Let me know if there’s anything, anything at all, that I can do to help, given our recent foray into this territory with glow in the woods. It’s been fantastic – I wish you all the best. Such a need, and no better person to light the way than you.
    xo

  8. laurie says:

    I’m in. This is a great idea and I would really love to be part of it.

  9. Becki says:

    I think it’s a wonderful idea. I am not (so far as I know) a mom with cancer, but when you give the address for the blog I will link to it on The Motherhood (http://themotherhood.com) to get the word out as much as possible.

    And if I do become a mom with cancer, I am going to be so grateful that that blog is there.

  10. I have metastasized breast cancer.

    I have been living with it for almost a year now.

    I have three young children.

    I blog about being a mom and living with cancer (and other stuff, if I feel like it)

    my blog:
    http://coffeeandchemo.blogspot.com

    I would be happy to be part of a group blog about being a mom and living with cancer.

  11. Jessica says:

    I am all yours for communications purposes! I am on board to promote the information and support network to reach as many persons as possible.

    Thank you for this amazing idea WhyMommy!!

  12. Amelie says:

    This is as great of an idea as it is terrible that we need it.

  13. I would just love to help, in any way I can.

    “Knowing” you has helped ME tremendously, Susan… I will be forever in your debt for all you have taught me– not just about cancer, but about life. About grace, and strength, and courage. About being a good person, and a wonderful mother and friend.

    Just let me know what I can do! This is a(nother!) wonderful idea.

    xoxo CGF

  14. hotfessional says:

    Please let me know what I can do to help. I’ll promote the site any way I can.

  15. Bon says:

    this is fabulous, Susan…i’m in. linking, promoting, let me know.

  16. Mrs. Chicken says:

    You amaze me. Truly. In the purest sense of the word, you are awesome, as in, you inspire awe.

    How can I help? I don’t have cancer, but my odds are not good, with my familial history. Can I help promote? Anything you need, friend, call on me.

  17. That is a wonderful idea, I would love to join in.

  18. I’m a grandmom with cancer, breast and colorectal. I spend at least one day a week with my seven-year-old grandson and four-year-old granddaughter. Living with cancer is a part of their rourtine – there’s never been a time in their lives when I did not have it. If I’m not out of the loop or the intent of this wonderful effort, I would like very much to participate.
    I read your blog every day. You are a very special person.
    Kathy

  19. Kimberly says:

    I am the mother of 27 month old who has battled chronic myelogenous leukemia and lymphoma (a special bonus given by the treatment I received to combat the CML) four times since I was first diagnosed at age 22. I finished the most recent round of treatment in Fall 2007. I am an avid blog reader and plan to be a blog writer but haven’t taken that step yet. I would love to participate in your group blog as a writer. Please let me know how I may help. Your blog is wonderful! Hugs and prayers to you.

  20. Nancy says:

    That’s wonderful.

    I’d love to help in some way if I can. Just let me know if there’s anything I can do.

  21. Robin says:

    What an incredibly smart idea!
    You got make it into a website too – main would be blogs, but other clicks could take you to more specific coping and overal info pages.

  22. liz says:

    If you haven’t gotten the info you’re looking for…email me and I’ll see what I can do with your book proposal.
    I worked as an editor at one of the top houses and still have contacts in houses as well as agents. I’d be pleased to have a look at your proposal and see if I can help you shop it around town.

  23. Stimey says:

    You never cease to amaze. Great idea. Anything I can do to help, I will. Let me know when it’s up and I’ll tell my 16 readers about it.

  24. NSB Mom says:

    Wonderful Idea!

  25. D'Lyn says:

    Patricia Polacco has a beautiful children’s book called The Lemonade Club. It’s about two friends in school — one of whom gets leukemia. Along the way, their teacher has breast cancer. It’s a precious story that addresses the exhaustion, chemo, hair loss, and most importantly, healing.

    Praying for you,
    D’Lyn

  26. Alabamapink says:

    I’ve never read your blog before this post, but a friend sent me a link. I’m mom to a crazytoddlerman and also recently diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia (Say that three times fast!), a particularly nasty aggressive flavor of AML at that.

    Tomorrow I go in for a five or six day stint in the hospital for more chemo against some refractory leukemia cells that dared show their stupid faces after my first round of chemo. And good times are ahead as I am looking down the barrel of a future bone marrow transplant.

    Since being diagnosed, I have been reluctant to join any cancer support groups (real life or online) as I don’t want to be associated with people simply because we all have cancer. Plus, I have this particularly nasty habit of flying through life solo.

    But maybe I need to get over myself and join up with other moms who are fighting the good fight against stupid ole cancer while still wearing their mommy/wife/glue that keeps the family together uniforms.

    Count me in.

    AlabamaPink (a.k.a. Manda)

  27. catnip35 says:

    I think it’s an absolutely brilliant idea.

  28. NYfriend says:

    Another wonderful idea. 🙂

    My sister works for Gilda’s Club, I will certainly pass along to her your group blog. 🙂 I’ll also spread the word via the online communities that I’m a member, which are “mom-based.” (Okay, these days *all* my online communities are mom-based!). 🙂

  29. Mary Beth says:

    I am a survivor with an 8 yr old son and a 15 yr old daughter. I would love to be part of your group. Check out http://www.KidsKonnected.org it is an organization started in CA to help kids with a parent with cancer. They have some good books available and they just came out with a book for teens by teens.

  30. cancervisa says:

    I don’t know why I did not think of this first! I too started a 2nd blog called
    http://chemo100.wordpress.com
    How do I cross post? And more importantly how can I help reduce your comment intake?
    I’d be more than happy to respond to others who are in chemo and dealing with a preschooler. That is the only experience I have. I have officially had chemo for over 19 months.
    old cancervixen now cancervisa

  31. You know I would do anything for you babe. But right now I need to say something.

    Put yourself first.

    Do you hear me? Put. Yourself. First.

    Yes, these are heartbreaking stories and you desperately want to help them knowing EXACTLY where they have been, but put yourself first.

    Today I got a phone call. One of many I have gotten since I folded the support group of 400+ that I ran single handedly for almost 7 years. People begging me to keep going. But I can’t. My family suffered while I was helping other people cope. My health suffered while supporting others. I had to pull the pin. Completely. I hate that I had to do that, but after all this time I was burnt out and dreaded hearing those words on the other end of the phone or email ‘My child has just been diagnosed with Autism’.

    I don’t want that to be you. You have a wonderful way about you and I know that you would be an amazing friend and support to anyone. But put yourself first. And don’t stay up all night fretting about others, it causes wrinkles…😉

  32. damyantig says:

    I am overwhelmed with how you can think of helping others while you yourself are fighting such an uphill battle.

    I do not fit into the “mom with cancer” category, but my love and prayers are always with you.

  33. christine says:

    can i help in some way? my battle with malignant melanoma is long over (thank goodness!) but i would help if you need posts or whatever.

  34. Michele says:

    Susan, I have been reading your blog for a year now and I have been so inspired by you and your story. I am a cervical cancer survivor with a 3 year old daughter and can relate to the fears of not being around to care for my baby. I don’t have a blog but I do have a big mouth and am a graphic deisgner willing to donate her time if needed. Please let me know how I can help. I think what you are doing is awesome and I commend you for it. Thanks for everything!
    Best,
    Michele

  35. imstell says:

    Sheesh! As busy as work is keeping me I’m wondering if I’ll be any help at all! Better late to the party than not at all I guess. At least I didn’t promise to bring appetizers. Ha! Need I say I’m in?

    I’m blown away by all the support and volunteers. Keep em comin’.

    And I love what you’ve started with the site already.

  36. Karen says:

    can you delete earlier posts / comments to this topic by Karen? I was pretty depressed when posting, and don’t want to discourage others with cancer. thanks.

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