They tell you that treatment will suck for the kid, but hat it may pull the life out of you, the parent. That you’ll be angry, upset, and run the gamut of emotions.
They tell you that physically, emotionally, mentally YOU WILL BE TIRED. You will be exhausted. Your body will keep going, though, because it has to.
Funny thing about stress and life and all of the jazz: when push comes to shove, you just KEEP GOING. It doesn’t matter how tired, how upset, how angry you are. You push forward.
All those things, they told us. The social workers and the oncologist told us that. The social workers check on ME every week. Not my kid, but ME. How is home life? How are finances? How are YOU?! J’s primary oncologist does some of the same. How are you coping? What do YOU need help with in regards to his treatment and side effects at home? How can I help YOU with it all? And, by helping me, he knows he’s ultimately helping J. While it IS all about J, they all know they cannot have mom break, because once mom breaks, chaos ensues.
What they didn’t tell us though is the support and/or interference others would create. Everyone wants to help, but people don’t know how to give space. Everyone wants answers, but they don’t realize you might already be giving every little bit of what you DO know, or perhaps you want to think on things before sharing more.
Friends think that taking away your daily tasks — meals, shopping, laundry, cleaning — will help you. But what happens then in that dead space of your day? So I say no, I want to do my own laundry. I want to do my own shopping (besides, I just place the order on Walmart’s website and then pick it up, so it’s a quick thing). Meals — ehh, some nights I could use the help, but many nights we’re making it up depending on how J feels and what transpires that day.
Friends think that doing all of these benefits is a help, and it is! But what they forget is that you’re taking more and more control away from a family who has already lost control of their lives when events snowball, when people jump in without an invite, when people make it more about them than what it’s actually for.
And that’s the thing — the cancer family has lost control. We are not in control of our lives anymore. Doctor’s appointments, treatments and chemo side effects dictate life.
All we want is control back in ours lives.
That’s what we were never told: how much control we would loose by well-meaning people taking over.