what thoughts rattle around in your brain when you're a mom of a toddler and a breast cancer patient?

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

It's the little things that mean the most

Since being diagnosed with cancer, I've really seen my friends and family do some incredible things for me. Some small, some not so small. I want to keep track of this because it's been so important to me to know that people are thinking about me and doing what they can do to help me and my family get through this. It's not in any sort of order and I may not get it all up there in one fell swoop but here it is.

Dan (my husband): I don't even know where to start. He still thinks I'm sexy, even when I'm bald with one boob. He takes over with the baby and never complains. He keeps the house clean and does tons of laundry. He walks our dog and remembers to feed the cats. He went to each and every chemo with me during my TAC treatment. Put my wig on and looks like Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High and makes me laugh so hard I cried.

Susan: Picked up the baby on the days I had chemo. Went out of her way to get a baby seat for her car so she could do it. Always calls to see how I'm doing. Came over and helped me style my wigs since I'm not great at stuff like that.

Maggie: She sent me $50 worth of Cold Stone gift cards when I told her my tastebuds were ruined by chemo and ice cream was one of the only foods that tasted ok.

Brenda: My breast buddy, a cancer survivor. Amazing moral and emotional support. I feel like I've known her my whole life, not just for the last 10 months or so. I can talk to her about anything and she just understands.

Angela: See all that stuff up there about Brenda? Same goes for Angela only I haven't known her for as long. These two women have made it bearable to go through treatment and keep a smile on my face.

Vikki (my sister): She sent me a few thousand dollars to put in my savings account to pay for whatever I couldn't pay for on my own. I didn't ask, she just sent it and says she doesn't need it back. She doesn't remind me about it or ask how I'm using it. Also, she has flown from NY to CA a number of times since my dx to help me through emotionally rough times. As a surprise, she sent me a cute pair of shoes like some she has that I commented favorably on even though I didn't ask.

Tina: She cooked for my family and filled our freezer with tasty dinners. She came over when I was sick and had the baby with me even though it was during the middle of her work day. She calls often to see how I'm doing. Has volunteered to go to a chemo with me.

Dad and JoAnne: They call often to see how things are going. They came out for 17 days to help the family after my surgery since I couldn't pick up the baby. They paid for groceries and gas for the car. JoAnne is always there for an IM. My dad has been through chemo and knows how crappy it can be.

Mark: He calls all the time to see how I'm doing. He and his wife watched the baby so my husband and I could have a quiet dinner alone. He makes me laugh about stuff that didn't seem funny at first but does now. He can make anything funny, and knows when its important to get a laugh out of me.

Fretz: Tried to get my employer to allow other employees to donate sick time. Brought me cookies. Calls often to see how I'm doing. Makes me laugh. Didn't blink the first time he saw me with a bandana on my head and no wig. Has volunteered to go to a chemo with me.

Aunt Angie: We have been out of touch for years and had a misunderstanding as the cause. She wrote to me when she found out I had cancer and now we chat through email and post. She sends me a check when she can and always tells me to spend it on myself, not the kids or the bills.

Tom, my boss: Has been wonderfully flexible with my schedule as I went through all the diagnostic tests and then chemo past and present. Does not over manage me and knows I will get my work done and not disappoint him.

Jill: She went with me to see doctors during my diagnosis and workup. She spent alot of time talking to me about cancer since both her parents and sister have been through treatment.

Helen: Where do I start? She is a breast cancer survivor I know through work. She is spiritually vibrant and has great energy. She is supportive and always knows what to say when I need a calming voice. She is the kind of person I aspire to be more like.

Bobbi: A friend of my stepmom's and now a friend of mine. A survivor of late stage ovarian cancer. Another good resource to talk to about treatment. Has a helpful son who is a radiation oncologist. Made me a polartek fleece blanket that I wrap myself in every night like little kids do with their favorite blankie. Sends me strength each night when she looks at the sky over her house in FL.

Lindsey: Sends cards and emails me. Sends little care packages periodically. Didn't bat an eye when she first saw me with no hair and a bandana on my head. Has a wonderful sense of style that I would copy in a heartbeat if only she would give me about 4" of her height (she is almost 6').

Kelly: After my surgery, she sent a giant box of gourmet food to our house so that we didn't have to worry about dinner for about a week.

There are plenty more people who have been terrific. I'm not done yet.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi. I've been reading your articles. I think we're about the same age. I have a 3 yr. old with leukemia, diagnosed about 7 mos. ago. I think while you were getting an incredibly fit and awesome body, (my forever dream) I was busy having 4 children. Anyway, here are my thoughts. They're crude and unrefined, but hey, I'm trying to respond to a deep and thoughtful topic between laundry and the next dose of steroids, and more meals in the kitchen from said steroids... as a mom of a baby whom I've watched suffering with this cancer beast, and helpless as I've felt, I still want to nurture her completely, and yet allow her to use her "self" to get through what she has to that I can't fix from the outside. You have some great support. Some of it comes from places unexpected, as we do here. I think we as humans have the ability to nurture throughout our whole life. Your story paints the picture of other people taking care of you and helping in a way that I nurture my daughter from right here in our house. Food, warmth (your blanket) cravings, pain, denial, acclimation to your new reality. Some people you lose along the way. They're just not able to walk with you on this road anymore. Others merge in from the weirdest places and walk beside you. What is our job here on earth? You mean it doesn't really involve "Super Target?" It's not all about the reality shows, and the best sales? Is it about helping the helpless? Some of them are so undesirable though??? What is my job? What is yours? What is my daughter's now that she may actually make it to adulthood? Anyway, this probably doesn't help your thoughts all that much. It just lets you know that you're not on this journey alone. There's a lot of us up late at night (my little one is 1 1/2 and still nursing a couple times at night) thinking hard thoughts about our parents smoking habits etc..... sleep tight! Jennifer

1:51 PM


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