If you watch “Parenthood” on TV, you know what I’m talking about. And if you’re a mom with cancer, you know what she’s worried about.
The mother of a baby, a special needs child and a college student, Kristina is having a hard time taking the focus off her kids and onto her health. Recently diagnosed with breast cancer, she refuses to reschedule her life “based on how I may feel two months from now.”
Oh but Kristina, you have to. Moms going through cancer treatments really, truly have to.
When I had lymphoma when my kids were 8 and 10, my mother-in-law told me it was time for me to “be selfish,” and she was right. I had a fast-growing tumor the size a softball in my left lung, and if I hadn’t put all my energy into ridding myself of that, I wouldn’t be here now.
But it’s just not that easy.
When you’re a mom, you are more often than not the hub of the family, the cruise director, the calendar keeper, the carpool organizer, the heartbeat. When mom has cancer, the whole family has cancer.
If you don’t do all that crazy-busy stuff — even because you don’t have the energy or the white blood cells to lift yourself off the couch — it makes you feel like a bad mom. And that’s the ultimate shame for modern mothers.
So we push our way through chemo, radiation, surgery, turning down offers to drive the kids to soccer practice or take them out to dinner so we can rest, because who is more of a SuperMom than a mom with cancer? I am woman, hear me roar! And then see me end up neutropenic so that I have to put off chemo a few days while I recuperate.
That’s not SuperMom. That’s StupidMom.
If you want to be a true super mom while you are in cancer treatments, there are three things you need to do:
- Ask for help.
- Accept help.
- Be a little selfish about your health.
You’re the heartbeat of the family that needs you.
PWC Recommended Reading: “When a Parent Has Cancer” by Dr. Wendy Harpham