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Any other single parent cancer survivors?

Sally08's picture
Sally08
Posts: 47
Joined: Jan 2009

I'm 22 and was diagnosed in Oct. 2008
I'm a single mother... and practically doing it on my own (I feel like) not much support ...
then I was diagnosed in October with thyroid cancer and my world fell apart. Since then I've had 2 surgeres, 1 RAI and last I heard (in April) my endocrinologist thinks it may be spreading to my right lung and under the left side of my clavical bone. (I'm still waiting till Aug. 11th -my next appointment- to find out what is really going on...
I'm terrified...
My son os only 2 years old... but he knows... he knows 'something is really wrong with mommy' as much as I try to wait until he's at daycare to cry or wait until he's in bed to talk to my friends about how I'm feeling... It's like his stress and anxiety levels are escalating.... and I feel bad for him. That I can't shelter him from it... every time I go in the hospital and he has to "go have a sleepover" with one of the family friends for a week or so... he knows.
I'm sorry, I was just wanting to know if there's anyone else out there dealing with a cancer Dx. and a single parent... how do you cope? cause sometimes I feel like nobody else understands.
Thanks.
Sally.

Mannie
Posts: 51
Joined: Oct 2008

I was diagnosed with brain cancer when I was 25; my son was 15 months old at that time. It was tough on me to go from being an independent person to needing help doing everything, including bathing and making food for myself so I had no choice but to live with my parents and brother. My aunt, who stayed home with my cousin who was 3 at that time, would watch my son for me while I had radiation treatments. I couldn't drive, that's what happens when you're diagnosed with brain cancer, you don't lose your license unless you have a seizure but it's almost impossible to drive. I lost my license bc I did have a seizure but not until several months after I was diagnosed so I couldn't drive for a year, which was hell.

I was extremely selective over who knew for my son's well being. It's very difficult to be up with your kid at night, do laundry, make food, and whatever else. I tell people all the time that it's hard to be a single mom but it's exceptionally hard to be a single mom with cancer. I was so fortunate to be with my family. I was incredibly sick when I was diagnosed and my medications caused so many side effects that it was a never ending battle. Ask for help, ask for lot's of it and make sure people understand that you need help. I know that people generally don't understand what you're going through. My son became very close to my cousin from all the time they spent together and they still have a great time when they get together. We're leaving for vacation soon and our entire family is going so my son and my cousin will get to play and have fun. The people that I relied on I'm closest with now but some people definitely turned their back on me and I can't respect them now, I can barely stand to talk to them actually.

Take care and I know how feel,

Mannie

Sally08's picture
Sally08
Posts: 47
Joined: Jan 2009

Thank you.
I don't know how to explain how good it feels to know someone out there actually gets it.
Thank you so much
I had just relocated to a new state about 3 months before I was diagnosed... so I'm starting from scratch with friends and support base. I too learned quickly the 'true colors' so to speak, of my friends.
Thank you.

acoglesby's picture
acoglesby
Posts: 3
Joined: Jul 2009

Hello Sally. My name is Drew. I am a 30 year old survivor of testicular cancer (twice). I also am a single father. I have a myspace and Yahoo IM if you would like to chat. It would do us both some good.

acoglesby's picture
acoglesby
Posts: 3
Joined: Jul 2009

All apologies.

Cygni's picture
Cygni
Posts: 2
Joined: Jul 2009

I am a 36 year old single mom of a very busy 3 year old. I was also diagnosed with thyroid cancer in the fall of 2008. I had a total thyroidectomy (and 3 lymph nodes removed) early this year and had my first RAI in April. My scan showed residual cells on a lymph node, so they want to repeat RAI in November.

Kids pick up more than we realise and like you, I also have tried to avoid discussing my illness in front of my daughter, because she started showing some anxieties and began mentioning "Mommy dying". I struggled with a lot of guilt due to being too exhausted to play with her (basically feeling like a living zombie!) and barely being able to throw together a decent meal.

The fatigue associated with the lack of thyroid has been the worst part. I used to run 15 km a week, and I now have a difficult time just getting out of bed in the morning. My Dr. says my TSH levels are right where she wants to see them, but obviously not where I'd like to see them, lol. Even though I have family close by, I do not have much support. My boyfriend of almost a year ditched me in the middle of treatment. I joke that I survived the cancer, but my relationship didn't. :) I have no disability insurance, have not worked in 8 months, and I will most likely lose my house and have to move in with my parents.

I understand what you are going through. It is a very lonely time, where you have to dig down deep to find strength and resources within yourself you never thought you had. I try to meditate when I find the time. I joined a cancer support group which really helped. It was well worth the hour drive (which I had to get a driver when I was too hypo to drive) to talk to people who understood.

Hang in there...there are better days ahead for us!

Jewel41510's picture
Jewel41510
Posts: 11
Joined: Mar 2009

I thought being a single mom was tough - that was until I was diagnosed with cancer. Hodgkin's Lymphoma in January of '09. Nothing can prepare you for that. I worked 50-60 hrs every week to pay for my daughters daycare and the house her and I live in. I spent my day(s) off running the weekly errands and making sure we had our girl time, who has time for cancer?? Not a single parent that's for sure.

But you are not alone, My daughter is 4 years old and understands that mommy is sick but I stay strong for her because I know she needs me. And I can tell by your words that your son is your world and it seems to me you are doing an amazing job handling this heavy load you've been handed. Like you I had my crying moments when my daughter was asleep but I didn't have many. I think any single parent can agree that just the experience of being a single mom strengthens you, because you have to play both roles. I am a strong believer that everything happens for a reason and I think me going through the tough times and dealing with the challenges of single-parenthood prepared me for the cancer fight. It was the conditioning phase, to mentally prepare me for what I would face next.

Attitude is EVERYTHING. You have to know in your heart you will get through this, tell yourself that 10 times a day and you will start believing it. The way I got through chemo was by taking advantage of the "good moments" where I wasn't sick or achy and spend them with my daughter at the park, the marina, museums and on my not so good days we rested and took it easy. Quality time, faith, and a positive attitude is what got me through the tougher times.

The road isn't over for me, but I hold tight to my faith and knowing your not alone in this makes it just a little easier. If you ever need a friend, a shoulder, someone to vent to, to cuss out cancer with let me know.

Joleen

Jolenefraga@aol.com
I also have a facebook or myspace. Stay strong :)

Sally08's picture
Sally08
Posts: 47
Joined: Jan 2009

Thank you.

Right now my friends that have been there for me so far... are all surrently angry at me... for one reason or another... basically... because I'm screening calls..... not leacing the house.... and just plain avoiding everyone. :-\

I just got through last night venting on my Facebook page that "I'm sick of nobody understanding"

My sister wrote me back.... " Can you explain it to me?"
To her.. she thinks she's helping .... but in reality she just put in concrete form the very proof ....

I cried when I read your responses.... I can never say this enough... it feels sooo good to know I'm not alone... not just the fight against cancer.... I knew thst when I was diagnosed.... but the fight against cancer trying to ruin my family. the hidden fight I have that nobody sees of me using every ounce of strength I have to make sure it doesn't affect my son or my relationship with him.

Thank you so much
Sally

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