Defining Support, The Cancer Mom Series: Ashley

Defining Support, The Cancer Warrior Mom Series is a collection of thoughts from many incredible Cancer Moms and how they define support.

By Ashley Davis

Ashley is Mom to Ava, who was diagnosed with high risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia at 18 months old in 2017.  She is currently being treated at Levine Children’s and her end of treatment date is in December, 2019.

Support means everything to a family going through a cancer diagnosis. Whether it’s a lot or just enough. Because being/ feeling alone during this hike is extremely difficult and painful. 

Support can come in many different forms and ways. Sending a text, giving your paid leave to the father who’s working 40+ hrs a week to make ends meet because his wife just had to quit her job to take care of their sick child, sending a meal, calling us to check on us (because you will never bother a family going through this, unless they tell you otherwise) there’s never too much love and support you can give a family going through cancer. It may seem small to you but it’s huge to them. Because they’ve had family they’ve talked to weekly before their child was diagnosed to not talking to them at all now, Some feel like they’re in the way and others are judging you for your decisions or the way your feeling, the person they could always count on to talk to is either too busy to or too scared to talk to you, all because in one second your life changed. 

Ava’s Leukemia took one second for everything to turn upside down. Support the sibling who feels like she’s in the way or feels she can’t talk to her parents because she doesn’t understand what’s going on now. She was preparing for her first week of kindergarten one week and then everything changed. Her mom tries not to get upset in front of her, but she knows the crack in her voice before she starts to cry. 

Support the sibling who is coping just like her parents are, we can get through this! Only 2 more rounds of high dose methotrexate, pray that she doesn’t get mucositis so that we can go home to spend time with Zoey this weekend, because of the flu ban she can’t come to see us at the hospital. I’ve felt like I’ve walked through fires, this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. 

Support – a hug, a gesture, love is powerful to a family who’s life is now unknown. Day by day, second by second sometimes is how we have to live. Because if we let our minds get too far into the future it worries us. Will my child still be here?  Because there’s a fine balance between the cancer killing her and the chemo also wreaking havoc on her tiny body.  Will my healthy child resent me for what I’ve had to do to make it through this, will my marriage make it?  You begin to question everything, your faith, your decisions, everything. Could this be why? Why God? Why did we do that? Why aren’t they here for us when they know we need them? There isn’t one part of your life that is touched by the hell you have to endure. Support goes hand in hand with success, success for everyone. We all need support, be there for each other. Support cultivates love, friendship, faith, strength, and hope. 

Donate in honor of these incredible women, your donation to the Isabella Santos Foundation helps fund research so desperately needed for rare pediatric cancer patients.

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