I am so thrilled to introduce my first guest post. The author of the post is my wonderful daughter, Lauren. I could write a book about her, but I think reading her post will give you an idea of what a special person she is…Thank you, Lauren…
When my mother was first diagnosed, I viewed cancer as something that we would fight, mom would become cancer-free and then our lives would go back to “normal”. My mother and I have always been extremely close and I am proud to say that our family has always been wonderful at communicating and sharing our emotions with one another. It turned out not to be that easy…
My mother has been encouraging me to be a guest on her new blog for quite some time. We had a great opportunity to reflect together on our last trip to Boston about how cancer has affected our lives. For the first time, we talked about that first day when they shared with me that mom had cancer, how I tried to cope with the fear and uncertainty of her illness while going to college (at a time where we felt the farthest apart from each other, emotionally and geographically), feeling a responsibility to my mother to get genetic testing at age 19 and learning I am BRCA+, and how I reacted to finding out about her recurrence. I am not proud to share that when she told me that the cancer had came back, that I thought “she made the cancer come back”. Hearing her share how much that hurt really stings now…at the time, I felt my mother had let the cancer consume her life, all of our lives. I know now, that I was very very wrong. My mother is strong and she found her way of overcoming cancer; by educating herself and helping others fight this beast.
I apologize if I ramble throughout this post, but I figure if I am going to post on my mother’s blog that is all about cancer emotions, I will be as open as I can about our journey. A little information about me …. I am 25 years old and live in Greensboro, NC. I currently work at a comprehensive cancer center as a Clinical Social Worker. (I know…the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.) I can’t pinpoint a single moment where I decided my career would be to work with cancer patients. It seems God has led me here and it feels great. I am so blessed to have such supportive family and friends. My Dad amazes me at how strong he is…when Mom got sick, Dad was always open with his emotions and was the glue that held our family together. My brother, Zach, is funny, extremely smart, and really caring. The older I get, the more I cherish their relationships.
There is a special bond between a mother and daughter. We have been blessed with the opportunity to grow in our relationship, but it did not come easy. I know Mom struggled herself with learning how to cope with cancer and then also struggled to balance our relationship. While I wish I could have been the “perfect daughter” and been supportive at all times, I had to find my own way. She was diagnosed at a time when I was learning who I was and was beginning to create my own identity. While I was being selfish, I wanted that college experience…I tried as hard as I could to avoid it all. Looking back (especially as a social worker), I see how unhealthy that was and how much my mother needed me. I want to share this with all of you to show how difficult cancer can be on the whole family and highlight the importance of communicating with each other. Also, allowing each member of the family to cope with their emotions at their own pace. Our bond is stronger than ever and I am grateful that we have faced cancer together. I love every trip I take with my mother, I love hearing about her adventures, I love knowing I can talk to her everyday, I love making plans for the future….and I will never take those moments for granted.
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