This month… October… the month we used to think of Fall Colors but now all we see is pink… or for some all that pink has made them see red…is about awareness… Breast Cancer awareness…
I have to admit… I have been educated by my fellow “Mothers with Cancer” on this subject. I, like most before I was diagnosed and even after did not realize or really think to realize “how much” money was actually going to the cause. I do not think we can blame the consumers… “someone” is telling us to do a good thing by buying a certain product. Then there is that “business”… “making money thing” again… Hey if we put a pink ribbon on it we can make raise the price… sell more and give a pittance away to the cause. So I want to thank those that have educated me on exactly what is going on.
But, I felt I wanted to post something on awareness too… I have been trying to think of how I could do that. So I asked my kids… what would they want people to be aware of when it comes to breast cancer?
My son, who was a few days before turning 6 when I was diagnosed gave me the following. He is 10 now. We were in the car and when he started to talk… his whole facial expression changed:
“It was hard”… what part was hard?
“The whole thing was hard”.
“You have to trust that the doctors are doing the best they can to save your Mom”.
“It is hard when they have to go away for chemo or to the hospital for surgery. But sometimes they have to go away … To come back.”
“I did not like when adults would ask me “How is your Mom doing?” because if I was not thinking about you and the cancer… I would think about it again and it would make me sad.”
“I did like being able to go to my friends… because if I was sad …they would help to cheer me up.”
Then he was quiet for a bit… which if you know him is not really possible unless he is playing a video game or reading…. “The devil got close on that one.”
I asked the daughter the same question. She was almost 13 when I was diagnosed and is now 17.
“I saw the pink ribbon differently back then… it did not mean hope… and it was not pretty.”
“I felt like people were supporting the cause but not really supporting the cause… people would say; ”I bought this pink thing and I am supporting your Mom. But they were not there seeing what you were going through.”
“I think the only stuff that should be pink is the stuff that is sold by the breast cancer organizations.”
“I think the ribbon really should be wings…Mothers are the emotional protectors of the family… they wrap their wings around the kids and family to keep us emotionally safe.”
“I had so many mixed feelings… I wanted to be home but not be involved… it was so hard to see your Mom fall asleep in the middle of a sentence…. so tired and sick. Yet I wanted to be away so I did not have to say good-bye.”
The following are some of the things that I would like to make people aware of:
It was not helpful when people would tell me…“so and so is okay and this other friend is okay so I you will be too.”
I would like people to be aware that if and when the survivor recovers… the family can have post traumatic stress… when I get a cold… it is not like when the Mom gets sick in other homes. It takes everyone back to the battle…. Immediately…
I would like teachers and friends to be aware that the kids are going through or have gone through hell. They each may show it in different ways. Even after Mom is better and her hair and energy is back, the effects may linger for years. They may have lost some emotional growth time… they made have a harder time adjusting to changes, their anxiety may be off the charts. They have been forced to see and deal with things that they emotionally should not have to at their ages.
Breast Cancer… any cancer or major sickness for that matter, forever changes you… not just the survivor but every one in the family.
As my son said yesterday… “Life is hard Mom”…”I want to go back to being 4… Everything was so easy back then.”
cross-posted at marybethvolpini