A shout out to all Oncology Mums

I’ll never forget those first couple of days following Felix’s diagnosis.  We were welcomed onto the Oncology ward with compassion and empathy but the thing that I could not get over was how cool, calm and collected the other Mums looked.  They looked at ease, at home, at one with where they were.  I, on the other hand, felt like a bumbling fool.  I couldn’t speak without crying and when I could speak I couldn’t find the words.  I didn’t know what to say or how to say it.  I clearly had lots in common with these other Mums, but at the beginning, I had no idea what.

Six months on I can now consider and reflect on life as an oncology Mum.  There are families right now who are trying their very hardest to keep it together, day in and day out for the sake of their child, for the sake of the siblings, for the sake of their partner and for the sake of their extended family and friends.  It is tough, really tough especially when your child has to spend a long time in hospital.  It is at this time when you get to know the other Mums; these Mums really are something else.  I have seen Mums fight tooth and nail for their child’s needs.  They are the experts.  They know and understand their child’s treatment plan, their blood counts, their medication regime, their fluid intake, their emotional stability.  They will demand that their child’s treatment starts despite no beds being available, they will press for the blood results which may result in discharge, they will notice unusual side – effects and responses.  There are Mums that have to administer medication throughout the night, check blood sugars, administer chemo, monitor pain and administer morphine when necessary.

I don’t know how other mums, but for me, to describe it as an emotional rollercoaster does not come close to the feelings and emotions I have felt.  I have sobbed because my child is suffering, I have cried because I was scared, I have wept because of the uncertainty.  I have somtimes been solemn because of the carefree life we have lost but hopeful for future.  Despite this I still relish the good in life and the little things that make me smile.  These things are still there and I notice them far easier because I want to, because I need to.  I am fuelled by the love and compassion from others and the love for my children.  This is where the strength comes from; love and compassion.

The mums I have met are from all walks of life.  They are your friends, your daughters, your sisters, your aunties, your cousins.  Being an Oncology Mum requires no application or interview, qualifications are irrelevant.  Once you are appointed, you are in, forever.  I feel honoured to have met the most wonderful of women on this adventure.  Women who have an abundance of passion, drive and resilience and more often than not, a wicked sense of humour.  You are amazing, end of.

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30 thoughts on “A shout out to all Oncology Mums

  1. Absolutely beautiful and so true…I was like this for 4 yr till I lost my boy…keep fighting and keep strong ..I know your journey. . From a cancer mum x

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  2. Ur words are so ture
    It been over a yr since my son was diagnosed with testla cancer with secondary it came bk this yr but the treatment did not work and now he is terminal but I keep going and am happy and sad when other mothers say that their child is free from the cancer

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      1. I’m unfortunately oncology mum too almost 6 months in ourselves and everything you have mentioned is so true, every thought and feeling.

        You kind of forget what normal is as this, feels like what it has been for a very long time … To good health and happiness xx

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      2. Sounds like we’re on a similar time path – lots of love, strength and smiles to you and your family xxx

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  3. Good piece, I’m an oncology Nannie and have been through all the emotions you speak of. I find all the Mums, Grandparents and staff amazing on our ward, oh, and don’t forget the Dads!!

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  4. I’ve been an oncology mom for over 17 years. We have been through quite a bit, but upon talking to other moms, not all of it. Everyone has a different journey. You are very good at putting your words on paper, or internet.
    Thanks for putting our shared thoughts into words.

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  5. Hi Mrs. Brown, I’m an editor at the Huffington Post. I just read your really moving piece. So powerful. Feel free to reach out if you’d be interested in re-posting this on our site. I think it could really resonate with our Parents readers. hayley [dot] miller [at] huffingtonpost.

    Take care!

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    1. Hi Hayley, thank you for your kind words and support. I would love to share and raise awareness on your site. Thank you 💛

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  6. My wife was an awesome tower of strength when my daughter was ill. She held the family together, gave unbelievable support to Kelly as well as making life as normal as possible for Kel’s younger brother Keiran . I was and still am in awe of the wonderful woman. What I would add though is that it was a total family effort, with all of us playing a huge part. We learnt so much about each other during this time.

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  7. This is so beautiful and right on point, I too am an oncology mom and it has been the most life changing experience to hear those devastating words, “you child has cancer”. I will never forget those words, this is my 4th child, I’ve never experienced anything like this… dr. visits, hospitalizations, daily chemo, steroids, seeing my son in pain. It has been a tough year and I’ve often been told that I am an inspiration because I smile through everything. I find a way to keep my family together, I still work full time… yet it’s so hard not to feel sad, or depressed at times. Having to muster the strength to keep it together, to get out of bed in the morning to go to work, even after my son had night sweats, difficulty sleeping, or nightmares. Love and Compassion, truly keep us going.. the love that I have for my family is what keeps me together even in those weakest moments…Best of luck, love and plenty of strength to all of the oncology mums. Much love.

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    1. Morning Mary, thank you so much for your beautiful words. It’s so very tough at times isn’t it and numbing to know that this new way of life will be with us all forever. Sending you and your family lots of love – always here xxx

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