A family leans on a porch railing, looking out from their house to the sunrise.

Raising Kids While Battling Lung Cancer

In November of 2014 when I was diagnosed with lung cancer my daughter was 17 years old and a senior in high school. My two boys were 19 and 20 years old and had already graduated from high school and were in college. My second youngest was 16 years old and a junior in high school and my youngest was 13 years old and in middle school. The news they received was traumatic for them and I’ll never forget the fear and sadness they had on their precious face. To this day that haunts me!

My kids are my strength

My children thought they were going to bury their mom, at one point I even thought they were too. I remember I thought I had to hurry up and get things in order, but I never did. I refused to give in and give up, I still had a lot of life in me, and I still had many things to do.

My daughter was going to graduate high school the following year and I had to make sure to be well and strong so I could attend her graduation. During and after chemo and radiation I made sure to continue to exercise so I can build my strength and stamina. I made her a promise that I would be there, and I kept that promise and I attended her high school graduation.

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My kids were my strength to get up every morning and push through the fatigue, anxiety, depression, and fear. They kept me going, they kept my hopes up, and they gave me purpose to fight with everything in me. I didn’t want them to bury their mom at such a young age. I wanted to see my other two daughters graduate, I wanted to see them grow up and my sons. I wanted to be there for them, and nothing was going to stop me, not even lung cancer!

Lung cancer changes life for everyone

But you see it wasn’t easy raising my kids at the beginning of my lung cancer journey, my kids were suffering. I was too busy with my treatments, appointments, getting scans, and blood work, and not feeling good. Two of my daughters became rebellious and one became depressed. I was so worried about myself that I felt like I neglected my children. I really was trying to raise them even though they were a bit older, early teens, late teens, and one 20-year-old, and dealing with my illness. It took a lot in us my husband and me because he became my full-time caregiver. Somehow, we managed, we made sure we attended their games or school events. We tried to go out as a family and have dinner as often as we could, we would go to the movies and even shopping. We did do a lot of weekend getaways and I truly believe that helped them out.

Not only was it therapeutic for them, but it was also for me as well. Once my kids saw how strong I was and the fight I was giving lung cancer, they knew their mom was a warrior and I wasn’t going anywhere. It’s been about 7 ½ years and I’m still here stronger than ever and not giving up. I’ve shown my kids what strength and hope look like and that is something that they will take with them during their journey in their lives. I guess you can say unfortunately it had to be this way to show my children that when life throws heavy storms their way, they’ll remember their mom and they too can get through them.

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