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How to Juggle Cancer and Parenting: Becky E’s Story

How to Juggle Cancer and Parenting: Becky E's Story
Age at diagnosis: 34 Diagnosis Date: 2010
Type of Cancer: Breast cancer – DCIS with microinvasion Stage at Diagnosis: Stage 1
Treatment Plan: Bilateral mastectomy Current Status: cancer-free (I pray)!

How to Juggle Cancer and Parenting: Becky E's Story

How did you tell your kids about the cancer diagnosis?

Shared very limited details but just told them that mommy would have a surgery to get rid of some disease growing inside my body. My baby was only 3 months old.

How did your kids respond?

They didn’t seem to care but were VERY good at giving gentle hugs after surgery.

What are some things you did that worked really well for your family with regards to dealing with the cancer, and treatment, while raising children?

Lots of outside support.

Is there anything you wish you’d done differently?

Nope

How did the impact of cancer change as time passed, and your children grew? Did it change?

they don’t really know much still.

Do you have concerns about the long term impact of your cancer on your children?

Yes. I’m most concerned for my daughter and how she’ll associate her own body when looking at mine. She’ll understand when she’s older

What advice would you give to other moms who are diagnosed with cancer?

Take time, breathe, and find ways to smile and laugh.

What concerns or fears troubled you the most?

recurrence

How did you deal with those fears?

Deal every day. It’s a very scary world.

Have those fears and concerns changed over time?

No

What was your darkest moment?

No super dark moments per se.

What was your best moment?

Post surgery to find out that no nodes were involved.

Did you decide to add more children to your family after your diagnosis? How did cancer figure into your decision?

No more children were planned but had nothing to do with cancer. We wanted 3 and we have them. I’m grateful.

What did you do to take care of you? How did you splurge on yourself?

I’m not sure I have.

Were you able to get help from friends and family members while you were going through treatment?

Yes. A lot. I am surrounded by amazing people.

Was it difficult to ask for help? Do you have any suggestions around the topic of asking for help?

People will offer. When they do, say yes. And be sure to pay it forward.

Did you have an online resource that helped you through this experience?

YSC! While I’m not very active in the group, reading the site and the FB page is a huge, huge help.

Did cancer/treatment impact your relationship with your spouse/partner?

Not in a huge way.

Do you have any relationship advice for young moms dealing with cancer?

Laugh. Remember to connect with each other. Laugh some more.

What is something you wish your friends and family members understood about your cancer and its impact on your life? What would you tell the friends and family members of other mom’s diagnosed with cancer? What would you want them to know about what she’s about to go through, and how best they can support her?

Recurrence is a real fear and something that comes up a lot. Help to keep me smiling and laughing and I’ll do the same for you!

Were there any cancer-related activities or events in which you participated that you think were especially helpful to you or members of your family?

No.. not really. I do Race for the Cure each year. It’s taken on a new meaning.

Are there any resources that you recommend?

For young women – YSC.

What are some solutions you found to practical problems of combining cancer treatment with raising young children?

I had lots of help and would have people help put my daughter close to me to snuggle.

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You can find more on the How to Juggle Cancer and Parenting Series here:

manage cancer and parenting

Seattle writer, Judy Schwartz Haley, blogs about raising a toddler while battling cancer, finishing a degree, and fending off ninjas. Also, she needs more coffee.
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