Cancer Mum Club
On the 29th October I joined the cancer mum club. I didn’t want to become a member, I’d happily give the membership card back in a heartbeat. And in my opinion there are far too many of us in this club.
But through this club I have met some absolutely fierce women. Women who I wouldn’t have met if it hadn’t have been for cancer.
Women who I admire from afar, who show the most amazing strength day in day out. There are women surviving the maze of parenting with the added layer of BS that being a cancer mum throws at us. And those I message before the friends I’ve had since I was 5 years old because they “get it”
There are the mummy’s who’s kids have cancer and there are mummy’s who have cancer and they have kids. And all of us are just trying to survive.
We Don’t Have a Choice
I’m fairly certain @bowelbabe hit the nail on the head in a story on instgram…i’m paraphrasing as I can’t find the exact quote. But she talked about how often people say how brave we are…and basically the truth is WE don’t have a choice. We don’t wake up and think we’ll be brave about cancer, we know we don’t have a choice. We have to put on our big girl pants and face it head on.
I have to get up in the morning and be brave. It is my job to come up with crazy fun ways to make taking medicine fun. I have to answer the endless difficult questions Bilbo has about cancer in an age appropriate way. My role as mummy is to take the anger, the knocks, dish out the cuddles and be the glue.
I have to watch my feed of cancer club members suffer and get good news and not so good news. And wonder how this is my new normal.
I have to put a brave face on when I want to hide under a duvet. I have to answer “i’m fine thanks” when inside my heart is breaking, i’m broken and I wish I could wake up from this nightmare.
And worst of all and something i’ve never admitted openly apart from to Rich…
When I choose which pictures to delete on my phone as i’m running out of memory I get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. My mind wonders if the worst might happen to Bilbo, will I regret deleting that silly image, that blurry out of focus almost perfect image. And I know that is pretty fucked up but it is what I feel every single fucking time I hover over that delete icon.
The fear is there, it is hanging over us like a dark shadow and the truth is we’re one of the lucky ones.
New Cancer Mum Member I See You
And the emotions hit you when you least expect it…
And after 140 days of being in this club, today I had a completely unexpected emotional reaction. Sat in the play room of the Kamran ward at Oxford.
Whilst I sat and watched Bilbo complete a jigsaw puzzle, I saw the new member. It wasn’t the first time i’d seen her today, she’d walked through the door at the same time as us with her suitcase and bags.
The second time I saw her, she was holding her little boy, she was being inducted into the club. Shown the ropes, the Kamran ward induction, here’s the kitchen, here’s the playroom etc. etc.
I saw her face, I saw her wet eyes, I saw her sons cannula all bandaged up and I saw the fear. And it threw me. I had a lump in my throat, an ache in my heart. And the hot tears came out of no where.
Just Starting Out
And that is why I hope my blog posts will help others in those first few days. There were tonnes of websites…google is rife. However there wasn’t anything that just felt right.
Here’s a few links:
Bringing It All Back
It caught me off guard. I thought i’d come to terms with where we are. I think we have to be honest. But today I was reminded of those early days when on the outside we were being so strong and the truth is our world was falling apart.
And as the day has gone on and i’ve sat in the ward waiting for Bilbo to come round from his general. As we left the hospital and we walked out the door, on the long drive home, I can’t stop thinking about her.
I felt like I wanted to give her a hug and say it is going to be OK. But the truth is I can’t do that, because not all our journeys are the same and no one can give cancer families that level of commitment.
We dish out the hugs when we can, and when we can’t we prop each other up in many different ways, we’re there for each other WHATEVER cancer throws at us.
And tonight if you’re reading this and feeling a little bit helpless and you’re getting that urge to do something, anything.
Please consider helping this cancer mum…her name is Emma and she’s raising funds to help get her son Teddy additional treatment in the US. Teddy Mascaro JustGiving
DISCLAIMER: This post is about mums and women as I am a mother and a women. But I am more than aware dads, nans, husbands, aunts, brothers, sisters, siblings are all part of the club i’m just writing this from my perspective today.