A New Meaning to Being a Mom: Cancer Mom Julie
[Presented by Atrium Health Levine Children’s]
Being a mom with a child who has cancer changes you. Being a mom who treats those children with cancer changes you too. Follow along Mother’s Day week as we hear from some of our Levine Children’s cancer moms and their oncology care providers, who are moms as well. Listen to what Mother’s Day means to them. And how living through a pandemic impacts momlife.
- Mom: Julie Soung
- Mom To: Luca (2-years old), Stage IV Wilms Tumor; Stella (In heaven, would have been 4 years old this April)
- Diagnosed: New Years Eve, 2019
- Status: In treatment (Week 15 of total 31 week treatment)
- Updates: Our Fight Soung
What does Mother’s Day mean to you? How has your child being diagnosed with cancer changed that meaning for you?
This day is special to me because I get to celebrate how I am privileged to raise a kind, tiny human. It is also a day to thank the women who raised me to become who I am today. All of my life, all I ever wanted to be was a mother and to finally see it come to fruition is such a blessing and something that I do not take for granted.
Mother’s Day is also a celebration of my children. First, my daughter Stella, who got called to heaven too soon at 36 weeks. She would have been 4 this year. Though she didn’t get to stay with us past 32 hours, she is the one who first made me a mother and she still lives on in my heart. Then my sweet rainbow baby boy, Luca. My bringer of light.
After Luca’s cancer diagnosis, I am thankful for this day more than ever. I feel so lucky that I will get to spend this day with him. I find myself reflecting more on our cancer journey and everything that we have gone through that has shaped me into a stronger mother. I feel so proud that I am the one he looks to when he needs to feel safe and loved. I feel lucky to be called mommy.
How has the current pandemic impacted you being a mom?
I would be lying if I didn’t admit that the current pandemic has impacted my mental health as a mom, especially a cancer mom. If you think about it, all the precautions the entire nation is taking now to stay safe, is actually our life every day. Being a mother of an immunocompromised child, I constantly have the fear of putting my son at risk.
Pre-pandemic we already would avoid public places that could potentially expose Luca to viruses like the flu. We limited our time with family and friends because his counts were low to chemo. So we were already pretty much “social distancing” before all this happened.
However, before the pandemic, I could still run out to Target for a little “mental break” or go over to a friends house just to get some girl time. It is a little tougher now because I can’t go out and get little breathers. I don’t want to seem ungrateful though. I know I am lucky to be SAFE at home, not STUCK at home. But it has definitely impacted me as a mom and I try to make sure I find new ways of self-care because in order to be a good mother and take care of Luca well, I know I need to take care of myself first.
What about this time has inspired you?
This time has inspired me to soak in every moment and find beauty in the repetition that makes up my days. I love spending all this uninterrupted time with Luca and coming up with creative ways to help him learn and experience the world.
- Cancer Mom Denielle
- Dr. Pope
- Cancer Mom Nikki
- Chief Nurse Practitioner Lauren
- Cancer Mom Michelle
- Dr. Hinson
If you are looking for a way to honor a mother in your life, make a monthly donation that keeps on giving. Support research that will help create better treatments and outcomes for kids with cancer in honor of Mom! Donate Now.
**Disclaimer: photos featured were taken before masking and social distancing guidelines were in place.