How Moms Dealing with Cancer Embrace Community

I apologize for this late Mother’s day post.  You can cut me some slack because I’m a volunteer who happens to be a mother. {digs through purse} 

Zoo_3

Aren’t they adorable?

Thanks for indulging me. They are 11, 8, and 2 – all geniuses of course! 

I didn’t post last week because two out of three had a stomach virus. I was sick too, but moms don’t get sick days.  It only took 48 hours for the virus to run its course, just long enough for me to get my pity party started. 

Then it hit me – Moms get cancer, and they are sick for months, maybe years on end.

A few years ago, my 38 year old friend with two elementary-aged girls died from cancer.  I dropped off casseroles and sent cards. I’m ashamed to admit that I helped from a safe distance, fearful of becoming too intimately acquainted with her illness.

As a volunteer for SharingHope.tv , I still "help from a distance," but thanks to social media tools and the bravery of cancer bloggers, I am more intimately acquainted with cancer and the debilitating exhaustion that can accompany it.  As a result, last week’s personal pity party was over almost as quickly as it started.  In fact, I switched to counting my blessings.

What’s remarkable is that the moms I’ve encountered in the on-line cancer community are counting their blessings too. Not only are they laboring while exponentially sick and tired, but they are reaching out to help and inspire others. 

I don’t know anything about the woman featured in a video I came across on You Tube, but I admire her mothering style.  She knew cancer treatments would cause her to go bald and possibly scare her young daughter. Instead of letting cancer dictate the terms of her hair loss, she chose to involve her preschooler in a "haircut." Watch the video to see how the child responds to her mother’s show of strength.  Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHGJZ_uLxwY 

I also stumbled upon kimmiecares.com.  Kim Goebel never had children, but while dealing with her own cancer at the age of 43, she wanted to do something to help the parents she met.  She conceived a doll with removable hair as a tool to help bring parents and children together around the topic of cancer.  Though Kim passed away, her kimmicares doll still speaks her message.

Then there are the mothers who parent children with cancer. Thomas Bickle is a two year old boy fighting a brain tumor.  His mom, Sarah, blogs about life caring for him.  She expresses gratitude for finding the right dose of pain medication that gives Thomas enough energy to play with his Legos.  She also speaks out about the dysfunctions of the health care system in the hopes that someone will listen and champion change.

One of the pitfalls of motherhood is how easy it is to become so consumed with the needs of your own family that you forget the world beyond your picket fence. I want to thank the three women I just mentioned, and countless others, for gracefully demonstrating how to grow a family embrace into a community embrace.

Happy Mother’s day, belated.

2 comments

  1. Great post and links — thank you for sharing. I feel compelled to comment: Help is help is help — whether it’s help from across the country, from down the street or at your side. No act of kindness, no matter how small, is EVER wasted.

  2. You might also want to check out this new blog, co-written by moms with cancer:
    http://motherswithcancer.wordpress.com/

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