FOOD FOR THE SOUL’
Yesterday was a day my children will always remember. Yesterday they found out that their dad could possibly have cancer. There it is again, that awful ” C” word. I hate that word, knowing that in one single moment your world is forever changed. If you talk to anyone, they will have a story to share about how cancer has touched their lives. In my own life, my sister, mom and dad all had cancer. Cancer is what took my mom’s life, allowing her to spend 6 weeks with her family before it claimed yet another beautiful soul. Their father and I have been divorced for 5 years, after being married for 27 years. He has remarried and has a new life, so there is no place for me in this story. There really should be no place for me, as our chapter in his life is closed. Of course that does not stop my heart from hurting for him and my children. I know the feeling that squeezes your heart when you hear those words. I don’t want my children to feel that pain, but am unable to protect them. Instead I will be here, right where they would expect me to be, ready to be their rock. I will lend an ear, give out the hugs, offer reassurances, and just be “mom!”
My daughter Katelyn was with him when he got the diagnosis. At that very moment she had to grow up, and realize how life can change in the blink of an eye. Later that night we met in a neighboring town, as her little sister had spent the night, and needed to come home. When she pulled up, she immediately ran into my arms, sobbing as if her heart was broken into a millions pieces. She said that she “held it together” all day, but the minute she saw me she fell apart. She just needed her mom. I can remember several times when I just needed my mom, because moms just seem to make things better. I would have given my soul in exchange for my children begin able to avoid that pain. I wonder if my mom felt the same way when the doctor came and gave us the news that my dad had lung cancer years ago?
The positive thing about going through these experiences with cancer is that I feel I do have some words of advise for those facing the “C” word. 1. The worse time is between the diagnoses and the “plan of attack”…it’s the fear of the unknown, and this is when a person feels absolutely helpless. Someone you love is going through a life changing event, and there is no way to predict the outcome. 2. Cancer is not a death sentence….there are many many things that can be done, from radiation, to chemotherapy, to surgical excision of the cancer. Cancer is so common now that we tend to triage the diagnoses, and are able to deduce that “Oh, that’s a good cancer to have.” I looked into my 13-year-old daughters innocent tear streaked face and told her these very words. “Maddie, the type of cancer that your dad may have is a good one!” She just could not comprehend how any cancer could be a good cancer. 3. Don’t ever give up hope, don’t ever let the cancer think that it can beat you! It has been proven over and over that a positive fighting attitude will greatly extend you chances of success. I’ve personally seen people with Stage 4 cancer that has metastasized to other organs, live way beyond the “predicted” time of survival. 4. Don’t ever lose your faith in your God. As always, there is a reason for this happening. Perhaps it is a wake up call to those who need one, for who knows why these things happen. 5. Learn all you can about your cancer, but be careful about getting reliable information from the internet. The best thing to do is to get advise from your doctor about where to get the most accurate and up to date information. Local cancer centers usually have a library where you can get information. 6. Always take someone with you to your appointments, especially the initial ones, because you are going to be so overwhelmed that an extra set of ears is invaluable. 7. Write down all of your questions before your appointment, and take notes. This is your life you are discussing, and you must be your own advocate! 8. Get into a cancer support group, and get your family members into one if appropriate. It helps to know that you are not alone in your fight.
I realize that my role will be to be there in any capacity I am needed. I will pray for God to put the right words into my heart, so that I can do whats needed of me. I will be the cheerleader, the counselor, the tissue giver, the limited medical adviser, or just mom. My advise to anyone who may face the “C” word in their life…don’t let it win, get the best medical care you can, love your family just a little bit more, enjoy the little things that you may have taken for granted, walk in the rain, kiss a frog, play hopscotch, take time to relax, and pray. And while praying for healing, send one up for thanks for the blessings you have been given. For these challenges you are facing today will give you the experience to possibly share with someone else in the future ♥