*This is the second of a two part blog series on parenting through cancer. Here's part one.
Hashing it out with Kyle, my Jack-to-Jack Coach – who’s also a dad.
Eyes blurry, I found myself dazed waiting in the Gilda’s Club lobby while my wife was inside taking a Qigong class. My wife had recently been diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer. She “beat” cancer six years prior, but it was returning like a two-headed monster. And it was bad.
This isn’t a rant about toxic masculinity. On this Father’s Day, my mission is for you to be inspired by men.
Ever wonder what it’s like to be a caregiver for a loved one with cancer? Imagine you're riding in a plane (your life) without a care in the world and all of a sudden the pilot comes on the intercom and says, “folks, there’s something wrong with the plane (cancer) and we all have to exit. Exit the plane…” You mean jump and then free fall, hurtling towards the earth with no idea what you are doing or anybody there to guide you? Now you’re starting to get the idea of what it’s like in the first days and weeks of finding out a loved one was diagnosed with cancer and you have the responsibility of being their caregiver.
A conversation with the Angel Foundation and an adult who's been in my kids' shoes.
People say thing like, ‘kids are resilient,’ ‘they’ll bounce back,’ and so many platitudes.
The truth is, I’ve had a hard time getting over some of the stuff I’ve seen with my wife’s cancer, so how can I expect our kids to just take it and get up off the mat?
I didn’t know, so decided to reach out.
I turned to Emily Rezac, Program Manager of the ‘Facing Cancer Together’ program at the Angel Foundation, for answers. This program offers kid-friendly activities and Camp Angel, a summer camp, to help kids who are dealing with a parent with cancer. Events are designed to teach healthy communication and coping skills for kids.
I contacted Emily to learn more about the program.
By the time Tracy was tested for multiple myeloma, we were months into utter panic. Her back pain was worsening and several weeks before she had cracked something in her back when standing up at our son’s baseball game. She drove herself to the ER and was given pain killers and told it was a muscle cramp. The next morning, she fell on the kitchen floor and I couldn’t pick her up.
When the diagnosis finally came, I was in a fog of denial and panic.
When friends and family hear the news - they will almost immediately want to help. This is great, of course, because we all need help. But it's often difficult to figure out what help we need - and for the helper, how best to help. Without any guidance though, your family and friends may choose something on their own and their version of 'help' might not be what you want or need.
“One is the loneliest number . . .” begins a popular 1960’s song by Three Dog Night.
But 2 can be the loneliest number when your partner has cancer.
Treatments left Cindy* and her husband stranded at home and away from family and friends in order to keep germs and illness at bay.
A collaboration with our friends at The Firefly Sisterhood. We're starting with the perspective of Caregivers who are caring for their partner. In future posts we'll begin exploring other perspectives.
Everyday life does not prepare anyone for a cancer diagnosis.
Where would you learn this?
In this 2 part blog series, we hope you’ll find comfort in reading the words of real caregivers sharing their very real experiences while caring for their partner. We’ll share their encouragement and local and national resources if you or someone you love is a caregiver.
Are you new to cancer caregiving? Do you know someone who is? When cancer strikes our loved one, we caregivers instantly begin playing a role we've never played before. Cancer impacts every aspect of our life. We get no training, no chance to get good at it first. We just start playing the game!
The Beginner's Creed