Thursday, October 4, 2012

Parenting through kancer

This post has been brewing for a long time. I haven't written it out of fear. Fear of admitting that I'm less than perfect. Fear of criticism.

Parenting at the best of times is challenging. But parenting with cancer? It's shit.

If you think I'm fishing to be told how wonderful I am, I'm most definitely not. I'm hoping that by putting these words down, I can try to get the bad feelings out of my system and let them go.

I have met women who share how much of a bonding experience cancer was for their family. Everyone together as a unit, ready to fight the evil cancer. My reality is I feel like cancer is trying its best to tear my family apart.

These days, more often than not, I feel like I'm doing a terrible job.

Though I'm physically strong given what my body has been through the past several months, emotionally, I'm all over the place.

Like most 5 year olds, mine likes to test the boundaries. He started kindergarten and has had some challenging days that have resulted in his being sent to the office.

I'm doing all the things I've been told are the right things. I've talked to the teacher, to the counsellors, and to the principal. We've been to the cancer agency's children's group. We've tried to keep some semblance of structure at home.

But sometimes, I feel all this effort doesn't mean a damn. And I'm at a point where I'm tired of everything: a never-ending roster of appointments, trying different types of counselling, being told that everything we're experiencing is "normal".

I have become a more patient person in many ways - stopping to collect chestnuts on the way to school instead of trying to make it there in record time to prepare for my return to work, for instance - but I still have not-so-stellar moments. I yell when a hug is needed. I cry when I it's time to buck up. I stress when I should let go.

Trying so hard to make everything better is, well, trying.

I have this little person who depends on me for so much. My biggest fear of all is that while I'm fighting to get myself better, I am letting him down.


  1. awwww Lori.. from an experienced life fighter to another.. I offer you this:
    it's a bumpy road, life, and parenting is one of the hardest roads we drive. No matter how much we "try" to be the best parent possible, guess what? sometimes (read most of the time) we stumble, we friken fall flat on our asses, and those parents who say they don't ... are LYING mofo's.
    The lack of guide book, to this adventure called parenting, makes it THE most difficult thing we will ever encounter.. add to that this Kancer bullshit.. JESUS! and I don't mean Christ! :)
    When the kids enter school, is when we start to look at our percived "parenting inadequacies" more than we had previous to that.. because it's in our face, becuase in the school playground, in the open class activities, in the field trips, in the meet the parents events, it's in our face.
    hard to get away from it, hard not to take it to heart..harder still not to compare your kid to other kids, and wonder "how come they are not having these issues"? and a huge newsflash for you.. if Mr. K (kancer, cus it has to be a man, no?) was not in the picture, you would likely still be feeling like a shit parent right now.. and I know you don't want to hear it.. but i'm going to say it out loud anyway.. "IT'S NORMAL" there you have it. honestly.. you are doing the best you can TODAY, and good news here.. if you sucked today, tomorrow you will do better.. Tru Dat! luv ya. xoxo

    1. The logical side of my brain knows what you say is true, Ceci. I've had educators, friends and those working at the school, tell me that the issues we're having are normal 5-year-old issues. But the emotional side of my brain is like the devil on my shoulder. I need to learn now to tell the devil to STFU.

    2. Well, Jesus (and I do mean Christ!) did teach us to resist the devil and he shall flee from you (James 4:7). Command those thoughts inside your head to stop lying to you about your parenting. Enough is enough.

      Forget it. I'll tell him myself. One more thing I can help pray for you.

      Oh, and when you return to work, I won't notice if you spent extra time sorting chestnuts from acorns. I think you need to cut yourself some slack.

      Remind yourself, you're Kicking Kancer! You won!

    3. Thank you, Tony on all counts.

      Better get today's chestnut collection out of my purse, lest the boy think I'm trying to keep them for myself...

  2. Fuck...that sounds so so hard. Hugs to you.

    1. Thank you, Clara. It's a bit of a shit sandwich, eh?

  3. PS: My kid got sent to the office too, last week, for shouting the F word on the playground.

    1. They love trying that out, don't they? A good friend of mine clearly remembers using the all-powerful F word for the first time, and how much trouble he got into for it.

  4. my daughter.. lol.. my daughter was in detention x2 first week of school.. so there! :)
    those little voices you hear.. I hear them too.. wine helps them mellow a bit.. and I hear that by the time we get to the nursing home, they will just be saying "It's five o'clock , it's five o'clock.. wine me! "
    looking forward to that ..

  5. Hey Lori - Parenting through cancer is sooo hard. My 8 year old had an especially hard time. We're still working through it. Ironically enough it got worse as I started to feel better - like he realized he didn't have to be as strong any more and then things just fell apart. School sucked last year but this year it's better and I'm almost a year out of chemo. Hang in there and cut yourself some slack.

    1. It's interesting, Heidi, seems most of the parents I talk to about this find their sons have a really hard time with it. No matter how much I have told my son he can tell me how he feels, it's like he thinks he has to keep it to himself. I wonder if there's any science to back this up?

      I'm really glad to hear this year is better for your boy!