I have Stage IV Inflammatory Breast Cancer. For new readers, I was first diagnosed in late Dec. 2007/early Jan. 2008. I went into remission in Dec. 2008, and found out I had a recurrence of the cancer in Nov. 2010. I’ve been back in once/week treatment since early Nov. 2010.
I’m also a mom. I have a nine year old THRIVING son who we adopted from Vietnam when he was four months old.
Is this what I would have chosen for us, me with cancer? No, of course not. But life can change on a dime, and when I received that diagnosis of Stage IV cancer, I was understandably devastated.
My son is a bright, imaginative, loving boy. Has he been affected by my cancer? Of course. Any child with a parent who’s ill in any way will be affected by it. Am I a worse mother because of it? No, not at all. In fact, in some ways I might be a better mother because I know how fragile life really is and I truly enjoy and cherish our times together. I try to make memories for him because the truth is that I really don’t know how long I’ll have on this earth.
But, you know what? None of us do. Nobody knows if a heart attack will come and steal his/her life, if cancer will be diagnosed, if a stroke will happen, if he/she will get in some fatal accident. Life itself is a terminal condition. It’s just that those of us with terminal conditions probably understand that more than most people.
I was and am outraged by Alaina Giordano’s story: she’s a woman who has had Stage IV breast cancer for 4 years. She and her husband filed for divorce in Aug. 2010, and he filed for sole custody. He won, partly because Alaina has Stage IV breast cancer and the judge, a woman, said that:
You know what? I don’t know when I’ll die, but that doesn’t make me a worse mother. My son isn’t suffering unduly from my cancer. It’s simply a part of our lives now, and if he’s learned anything from this, they are positive lessons. He’s learned that we need to reach out to others to get through this, for practical things (babysitting when I felt too sick to watch him, meals, people getting our groceries for us) and for emotional support. He’s learned that a strong faith in God and an amazing church family helps get us through this. He’s learned that we rely on others for practical and emotional support, whether those others are family members, friends, or church family.
Energy Boy and I are close, very close. He and Absent Minded Professor are close too. It breaks my heart to think that I might be taken from him before I’m ready, before he’s ready. But it would break my heart even more if he were, in essence, taken from me due to a custody battle while I was still living and could be a positive influence in his life, could raise him into the man he can be. You know what would be worse, though? How it would affect him.
Now, as an adoptee, Energy Boy would probably be affected a bit more than biological children would be, but any child would be affected by being taken away from a loving, caring mother. Alaina Giordano was not ruled an unfit mother; she’s simply a mother who happens to have Stage IV breast cancer, something that I’m sure she wouldn’t have chosen for herself.
But it happened to her. It happened to me. It could happen to anyone; nobody is immune from life’s tragedies, illnesses, difficulties. NO ONE.
Alaina is writing about her situation in a blog titled Beauty in Truth. Read it. Support her. Sign the petition that she should have custody of her children. Like the Facebook page, Alaina Giordano Should Not Lose Her Kids Because She Has Breast Cancer.
You wouldn’t want that happening to you, would you? Alaina needs our support. Please help.
For Alaina, but also for her children.
Cross-posted to Just Enjoy Him.