In one split second their world changed forever. A scary and isolating job that no woman could ever prepare for. Regardless of the type of cancer, the experience is long and difficult. Regardless of remissions, cures or unimaginable loss, cancer is part of their lives forever. Their moments in life are now marked by haunting memories and inconceivable feelings. Their family’s timeline is now marked by ‘before’ or ‘after cancer’. We are working during the month of May in honor of Cancer Moms everywhere, fighting for their kids. We will share stories of many incredible Cancer Moms this month and how they define support. We want to be their voices, reminding you all that the ONLY way we can make things better for kids fighting cancer is to do something about it. We hope we all find ways to lighten the load for our friends, neighbors and family members struggling quietly, valiantly, every single day, to keep their children alive. Donate today in honor of a mom. Donate in honor of a child. Your donation to ISF helps fund pediatric cancer research in our local community.
By Dianna Lariviere
Dianna is mom to Max, who currently is in treatment for Stage IV High Risk Neuroblastoma.
When Max was diagnosed on August 5,
It took a very long time for me to feel like I was ready to truly speak about being a cancer mom. I have developed very bad anxiety and to be honest, I am angry. Sure I do the updates and post about how pediatric cancer deserves more federal funding but to really talk in depth about the situation didn’t happen until more recently, and we are 9 months into an estimated 3-year treatment plan that’s 5 months behind the original schedule due to various factors. Our social worker reached out to another cancer mom who’s son had a similar diagnosis and is doing well. My anxiety and worry
I am extremely thankful that we are treating at a hospital that provides such close care to the patient and family. It really is a family. These children bond so closely with the nurses and oncologists, social workers and child life specialists. I was going to count how many days we have spent in the hospital but I don’t think that’s a good idea because it’s way more time than we have spent home.
The parental support is so important. I have friends and family that check on me multiple days a week. I don’t always respond and they don’t care. They just want me to know that they are there, from a distance, ready whenever I am for whatever I need – a cry, a scream, a hug, to vent or an adult beverage and not talking about the c-word at all. I’m told quite often that I need to take care of myself to be able to take care of Max. I’m still working on that part. I love to do arts and crafts and garden but it’s hard when you aren’t home often or your child isn’t strong enough to allow for you to get that release. Trying to fit in family time is difficult as well. It’s not often the 3 of us are all together.
I will forever be a cancer mom. I’ll never be that person I was before I was told my child has cancer. While everyone is wishing for their child to make the sports team or be top of their class or to not catch the stomach bug being passed around, I’m wishing for survival. So to all those who have reached out, prayed and sent positive vibes, fed us and provided us with gas money, sent Max gifts to put a smile on his face and provided an ear to talk with – THANK YOU! Your support matters more than I could ever put into words.
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.
MAY CANCER MOM SERIES: