Where is the Instruction Manual?

My main goal in life for over 20 years has been to be the best mom I can be for my kids. I visit about this goal with God every night. My oncologist knows how important they are to me and she always asks me about my kids. At my appointment last week, I think we talked about my kids more than my cancer. My Nurse Care Coordinator through my insurance company asked me to set a goal for myself when she met me. My instant response was to be as healthy as I can in order to enjoy life with my family. That goal has never changed. She has me repeat that goal at the end of every phone call and it energizes me.

The world is full of advice on how to raise kids of all ages. It is pretty simple to find advice on how to tell kids you have cancer. There aren’t many suggestions on how to keep parenting when you have stage 4 cancer. My kids were 21, 18 and 16 when I was diagnosed 19 months ago. They are absolutely incredible and are well past the stage of needing discipline, but they are dealing with huge life changes and decisions to make —- college, major, job, living away from home, etc. There is a lot of pressure on them anyway and now they also have to deal with my illness. I despise what cancer has done to them.

Cancer makes me less of a mom. I have physical limitations now so I cannot walk long distances or do much climbing. Nineteen months of treatments have made a mess of my digestive system so I cannot be far from a bathroom. My energy level is much less than it used to be. I battle anxiety and depression. My immune system is compromised so I wear a mask in public and haven’t been able to go anywhere with them in a long time due to COVID. All three of them are so helpful to me and simply wonderful human beings. They deserve to not be weighed down by a mom with a terminal illness and I would give ANYTHING to remove this burden from them. I’m still looking for that particular how-to parenting book.

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