Having young kids during this time can be both a curse and a blessing. When I was diagnosed with my breast cancer, my twins were 2 ½ years old. This is obviously one of the most difficult stages of a child’s development. At this age, their struggles with independence, tantrums, hyperactivity and potty training can make this a very trying and stressful time.
On the flip side, they can also be some of the most loving, caring and affectionate people in the world. After my last chemotherapy treatment when I wasn’t feeling well, one of my daughters looked at me and said, “Mommy, you sick?” Without waiting for me to answer she got real close to my face and said, “Stick your tongue out and say aahhh. Hmmm, let me see.” I couldn’t help but smile and give her a big hug. “Are you my doctor?” I asked. “Yes, I’m your doctor. You need some medicine. I’ll take care of you.” She said. “Thank you”, I said, “I feel better already.”
I can’t imagine going through this without my kids being here. They have been a source of constant joy and at times even entertainment. They help me forget what I’m going through and help me maintain a sense of normalcy at home. I get to spend much more time with them now than I did when I was working full time. Before I got sick, I only got to spend a few hours with them every evening when I got home from work. Now, I get to see them learn and grow right before my eyes. I wouldn’t trade this extra time with them for anything.
Now not every moment has been peachy. There are times when I’m ready to scream and mommy needs a break. So here are a few things that we did to help minimize the meltdowns on both of our parts.
- I asked my spouse to pitch in with the childcare. My husband is extremely helpful with them.
- I was honest with my kids. I let them know I was sick.
- I set boundaries for behavior , so they know my limitations.
- I let them know when I feel better and I’m ready to play.
- I ask friends and family to help with the children, when I don’t feel good.
I’ll admit even with all this, there are still times when I still struggle with them. Like right now, for instance, my child has just drawn pictures of Mommy and Daddy in purple marker on my leather couch. Thank God for Clorox wipes! I’m sure later, I’ll look back on all this and smile.
Did you have young children during treatment? What did you do to help deal with them, while going through treatment?
– Kids keep you young.