Effect of My Cancer on My Children

When I was diagnosed ROS1+ NSCLC, my children were 16, 18, and 23 years old. My main concern is around my children, how would they handle my sickness? How did they react to others, like school kids or acquaintance? Would they feel inferior that they don’t have a mother? Thinking people will look at them pitifully will pain me in my heart…. Three and half years has passed. My older son is doing his medicine specialty, and my younger son just started university last year, both boys are in the same city, away from us. My daughter stays with us and finished university this year. Due to the coincident reason, my two younger kids have written essays of the effects of my cancer on them. Here they are with original words:
From my younger son:

“When I was 16 years old, my mother was diagnosed with cancer. The diagnosis was sudden and was a very difficult time for me, however I was able to overcome it in a variety of ways. One of the ways I did was by helping my family in any way I could. This often consisted of grocery shopping, cleaning the house, cooking meals, and doing any small tasks at hand. By doing this, I matured quickly and also gained an appreciation for the little things my family had done. Another way I overcame this challenge in my life was to spend more time with my mother. By spending more time with my mother, I get to see how she is still strong and doing what she loves even with her sickness and it motivates me to pursue more in life. I began to work harder in both academics and sports. I made the Manitoba provincial basketball team twice (2016, 2017), and also decided to help coach a middle school team to help out within my community. Although it is difficult to fully overcome this challenge, I feel that I have made a lot of progress and have grown and matured along the way.”

From my daughter:

“In the summer of 2015, my mother, who has never smoked a cigarette in her life, was diagnosed with lung cancer that had already metastasized to her brain….

My mother and father are the strongest individuals I know. Over the past three years, my father’s unwavering support and sacrifices for my family continues to motivate me to be the best version of myself. My mother is a fiercely independent and successful career woman so watching her have to leave work was heartbreaking. My mother never gives up on living and enjoying life. My mother’s brain tumor affects the communication between her brain and her right arm and right leg. She faces these new challenges with unwavering bravery and determination. My mother learned how to write with her left hand, she adapted her gait, she continues to work from home, and shares her experience with others in hopes to help people who may feel alone in their battle with cancer. She is my never-ending inspiration to work hard and pursue my passions despite any obstacles.

During the summer of 2017, my mother’s gait became the inspiration for the cross correlation research project. This was one of the first opportunities I had to take a real world issue and try to do something about it. I feel so proud and appreciative of all the hard work that was put into it. It really helped fuel my passion and push me to continue to explore medical professions.

Although this has been the most difficult experience of my life, it has helped me grow and has shaped me into the woman I am today. Balancing the doctor’s appointments, increased number of family responsibilities, while also pursuing my academic goals and extra-curricular activities at competitive levels is challenging but something I am proud to be able to achieve. I work hard to organize my responsibilities and activities efficiently to maintain a balanced schedule while maintaining a high level of execution. I focus and work hard at whatever task I am working on, whether it be a research project in the lab, studying for an exam, or training for the 10-day long World’s Ultimate Championship Tournament that occurred this summer (once every 4 years).…”

When I just read them, a kind of guilt instantaneously overwhelmed me, but it’s replaced by a kind of unspeakable proud. My children grow up, better and stronger than I thought, more mature than I could imagine. I’m so proud of them.

There is just one problem I told my kids, people who read the essays thought I was dead. Don’t you want to add something to tell people I’m alive and enjoying every minute of my life thanks for the targeted therapy?

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