Coming From A Cancer Mom

By: Heather Sullivan

Jack was diagnosed with this monster in 2009, since then our world has never been the same. When someone utters the word cancer to you, it sends chills down your spine. Imagine being a mom and hearing this. I am a stay at home mom with five children. We have one younger than Jack. I wrote this to help you through your journey with your child.
Cancer can do a lot of things! When we found out that Jack had cancer I told my husband we will not let cancer rule our lives. Sometimes in life you have to stand up and fight and don’t look back. We travel 700 miles one way for his treatments. We travel as a family so here are some tips on how to survive trips to the hospitals, and living outside your home.
1. Do not take one day for granted. Cancer can rear its ugly head at anytime! Every child is different and their cancer is unique to them.
2. Have FAITH! Without the faith we would not have gotten this far, you have to hold onto something in these trials.
3. Get SUPPORT! You need to have a support system in place. Sometimes you need a shoulder!
4. Plan ahead. We always pack to-go bags for the kids, it has their favorite candy, drink, something to do in the car, and a note telling them how special they are, and they are a big part of our family. You see, cancer just doesn’t affect one person, it affects all around us.
5. If you have to stay in a hotel, find one that is kid friendly and one that offers breakfast and perhaps a snack at dinner time. They are out there, you just need to look.
6. Don’t let the nurses push you around. My child has been through hell and back and doesn’t like to get poked. He would rather have the gas mask than be poked. We had one nurse argue with us, and I politely told her that we will come back a different day. At that point the Doctor walked in and said we could wait till he was asleep. Prolong the suffering if you can!
7. Let your child be a kid! Jack always comes out of the hospital with his IV; we try to do fun things that he will like, such a going to his favorite movie, or restaurant.
8. Bring pictures to put around the room if you will have an extended stay, this makes it more homey.
9. Reach out to the different organizations, there are a ton out there.
10. Participate in anything that will help with research for our children. Research saved us from five rounds of chemo.
Do not be afraid of your child’s diagnosis, this is not a death sentence. Just know that no matter what, someone out there has already walked down this path, and they want to reach out to you!

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