A large pair of lungs has its arms around a smaller pair

Single Parenting and Lung Cancer

When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, I gave her father a choice. We weren’t married and hadn’t been dating long, but I have always been independent and was sure I could do this on my own.

My daughter was born 1/15/05. My dad told me not to have her during the playoffs. She was born that Saturday at 2:07 pm. Sorry dad! He missed a few games.

Becoming new parents

As brand new parents, John and I had no idea what we were doing. We had this little person we were responsible for. The work for him in Atlanta wasn’t going so well and he found work on St. Simons. Our daughter was probably 6 months old at the time.

I occasionally had the help of my family when John was working 5 hours away. I thought it was only temporary, but it became permanent. John would come home on weekends.

Trying to keep our family together

This continued for about a year. At this point, she was 18 months and all over the place. I decided to break the lease on our apartment and move to St. Simons with him. Our relationship was on thin ice but we wanted to be a family.

But, after arriving I fell into a deep depression. I missed the city and still do. We had many arguments over where we were living. We became on-again and off-again until our daughter reached kindergarten. The fighting was out of control on both our parts. We never made time for just ourselves, and I think that is the biggest mistake new parents can make. But we had no family here and I was weary about babysitters.

Amicably parting ways

So, while our daughter was in kindergarten, I moved out. We worked out custody and child support on our own. It was an amicable split for the most part.

Of course, she missed her daddy, but we basically split custody. We were 25 when she was born. Both of us still immature, but I had spent all of my time raising her when he was in St. Simons. So when she stayed with him I worried.

Supporting each other through lung cancer

I was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer two years after we split up. It has been a rough road. Sometimes I'm just too tired to do anything but push myself for her. There are several times I've needed help due to cancer, including hospital stays. Her father has always been amazing at helping me get there, picking things up for me, and taking care of our daughter when I couldn't, which was a lot in the beginning.

Proud of our strong girl

Fast forward 6.5 years, and she is a total daddy's girl. I'm so thankful for this as I stayed here so the two of them could remain close in case the inevitable happened sooner rather than later. I have had some setbacks but they have been minor.

Now that she is 14, things are a lot easier for the most part. My daughter is my biggest helper and the reason my heart goes on. I'm not jealous at all that she's a total daddy's girl. It gives me some relief. Although she has endured more than any young teenager should endure in their lifetime, she has always been a rock. She has her faith and keeps her head high, always staying optimistic.

I was able to care for her to the best extent possible in the beginning. Now, she is riding her bike to the store for me or helping with household chores. She even fixed me lunch this afternoon. I know this won't last forever, but I'm definitely going to enjoy it while I can. She knows the potential outcome. I've never been dishonest about that.

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