Telling my children I had cancer was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. The first thing they thought was that I was going to die.
Unfortunately, the word cancer was nothing new to my kids. We’ve had too many conversations about it after losing three friends and family members to cancer in the past year. After my rectal cancer diagnosis in December, my husband and I really had to explain to our children that not everyone dies from cancer, and Roswell is an awesome place that does really cool stuff and is constantly finding new ways to help people. My disease is treatable and I am going to be okay.
In early February, my 8-year-old son, Brendan, came to me and said, “Mom, I want to go Bald for Bucks so I can get money for you.” I explained to him that I don't actually get the money, to which he said, “the money goes to trying to cure cancer so that means it IS for you.”
Time to get him signed up!
It made me cry when Brendan told me why he wanted to go Bald. He knows how important it is. He’s only eight and knows how important it is to find cancer cures.
Some of Brendan’s friends are Goin’ Bald, too. I’ve taught most of them, and his teacher is a friend of mine. When Brendan found out I had cancer, he went to his teacher and said, “you told us our class is supposed to be like a family. I have something I have to talk to our whole family about.” He stood up in front of the whole class and told them that his mom had cancer.
I don’t want my kids to have to go through any of this, but I try to keep a positive attitude because I have little people depending on me. I have good days and bad days; it all depends. I’ve had some setbacks, but now I have chemo and radiation behind me and surgery coming up. One thing I know for sure is that I couldn’t get through this without all the support I’ve received from friends and family. From driving me to appointments, to making meals, to just being there. Everything, small or big, means a lot. One of Brendan’s favorite ways to help me is by bringing me a garbage can when I’m not feeling well.
Our whole family will be there at the end of March to see Brendan go Bald. Yes, telling my children I had cancer was one of the hardest moments I ever experienced, but I know that seeing Brendan go Bald for Bucks will be one of my proudest.
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Editor’s Note: Cancer patient outcomes and experiences may vary, even for those with the same type of cancer. An individual patient’s story should not be used as a prediction of how another patient will respond to treatment. Roswell Park is transparent about the survival rates of our patients as compared to national standards, and provides this information, when available, within the cancer type sections of this website.