Defining Support, The Cancer Mom Series: Nicole

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 Nicole Yudin

Nicole is Mom to Zach, who is battling Leukemia for a second time.

Nicole & Zach

Support comes in many different forms, I think.  There’s financial support where family, friends and even organizations provide monies for travel expenses, medical expenses, grocery expenses, etc.  Basically, financial support to me is what helps us to keep the bills paid and food on the table.  Then I think of support in the form of gifts.  These are mostly material things that are given to our family, mostly to Zach, to say “we love you” or “we’re fighting with you”.  We take these things to the hospital to help pass the time.  Zach is a BIG time Lego fan and he has spent lots of time at the hospital building Legos.  People are very good at gift giving, and while the support is truly thoughtful, and I am grateful for it, there definitely comes a point when you just have too much stuff.  People have the best of intentions in giving gifts but you definitely become inundated with things that you just don’t need or your child is not interested in.  But, I think gift giving makes people feel good and it’s easy for them to do. 

Finally, and the most important to me personally, is emotional support.  I need this more than any other form of support.  It seems so easy to give emotionally in my own mind, yet it seems to be so difficult for people to do.  Well, it’s not difficult for other Cancer Moms.  They get it.  I honestly get the most out of someone taking 10 seconds of their day to send me a “Thinking of you” text or other personal message.  That’s it.  That’s all I need.  And, now going through cancer twice with my son, unfortunately, those messages have become fewer and farther between.  Most often, and this is to be expected, it’s my other Cancer Mom friends who send me those messages.  Again, they get it.  I have a facebook page that I write on almost daily about Zach and what’s going on, and I have so many people who are reading it and making comments.  This truly is support.  But, it’s that friend who sends me the personal message that makes me feel the most supported.  Does that make sense?  It’s wonderful to have all of these people cheering for Zach, praying for Zach, sending all their good vibes for Zach and they do this by reading my FB page.  But, selfishly, I write that page for myself.  To express how I feel, to share the raw reality of childhood cancer.  I’m glad people read it.  At least, if nothing else, it’s creating awareness of childhood cancer and maybe it will spawn people into action.  But, like I said, send me that text message or other personal message, that’s what helps me the most. 

It is important to support Cancer Moms simply because we are living a life that we never thought we’d have to live.  We have endured so much, but more importantly, we have watched our children go through so much and that is beyond-words painful.  People may not know what it’s like to live in our world but they need to be present.  They need to make the effort to reach out to me and not the other way around with “let me know if you need anything.

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.