We recently were contacted by a mom in Poland named Kasia who shared her challenges with us of being a cancer patient in Poland. Kasia was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma this past year, and is raising a young daughter as a single mother. She shared her frustrations writing, "They even not offer good social care." To help Kasia, we reasearched some organizations in Poland in hopes that they can help her. She wishes though that Poland had an organization just like ours to help her and other young moms battling cancer.
There has been much news with our MAMCF families. I find myself taking deep breaths and meditating often because the news is at times heartbreaking. But, it comes with working (volunteering) for an organization that supports mothers who are chronically ill and have very young children. I am grateful though that my past experiences in life including losing my own mother, have given me the strength and tools to manage.
"God give me strength as I sit here and listen to my mom moan in pain please don’t let me cry so she knows I am strong for her. I know she will be ok because I am asking you and normally I get what I ask for. She is stronger than anyone I know and I don’t know too many people but still she is strong and believes in you. God please hold her hand and watch out for her." Vincent (Winner of the Desiree David Scholarship)
After being diagnosed with cancer, the initial shock ensues but eventually changed routines become adaptations. Mom no longer works, but she goes to treatment, cleans the house, does laundry, runs the errands, pays the bills, help the kids with homework, make their lunch, the list goes on. What are the expectations once the dust settles? Well, for some of our moms, the pressures to keep a perfect or at least close to perfect household are there. The challenge is that they don't always feel well enough to perform mommy duties.
One of the common challenges that our moms face is deciding what tell to tell their children about their illness. There is a delicate balance from telling them too much to not relaying enough. Deciding what to relay also depends on the age of the child, for children conceptualize illness and death in different ways. Carolina, our dedicated volunteer who has a background in working with patients with advances illness, spoke to our advocates last weekend about these concepts that children have.
I went from pregnant and glowing to tremendously ill quite quickly. The
early days at home with Nicholas were full of the typical baby-related
challenges, as we had expected. But things didn’t get easier as the days
passed. I experienced what I thought were post-partum symptoms and possible
complications from my c-section….fevers, night sweats, shortness of breath.
And boy, was I tired. But I had a newborn, and I figured, “so this is
what everyone is talking about!”
You Are The Best Medicine
St. Jude invited Mommy and Me CF to their monthly craft night. The topic or subject was painting a peacock. This form of group support for cancer survivors and caretakers could not have come at a better time for both Jennifer and I. This week, we have been coordinating care for one of our newer Moms, Kesha. Kesha has taken a sudden sharp decline.
For the first Liv Letters blog, I would like to reflect upon all of our legendary moms who have helped shape Mommy and Me Cancer Foundation. Without their input or their stamp on this profound organization, we would not have the programs and support systems we offer today.