Dealing with Cancer in the Family

When you realise you must be doing something right

When we found out about Chris’ diagnosis, it was my kids, especially Lily, I thought of first.

I knew that regardless of anything else that was going on, I needed to keep things as normal as possible for them.

To make sure I was there for bedtime and that they were at home as much as they could be, to make sure they weren’t passed from pillar to post and that they had stability.

That Lily could ask me anything and I would be honest with her, telling her what I knew when I knew it so she didn’t have to worry about the unknown (Sam has no idea).

To make sure that they still had fun even if it’s not always with us (my friends have now become her friends according to her), to make sure that they kept smiling and that we kept creating memories.

I question myself often when it comes to parenting.

Wonder whether I am doing a good enough job for them.

I am not the mum who bakes (or cooks) or does crafts very well (all the gear, no idea) and my house is always a mess

School uniform is ready last-minute, I forget to practice spellings and homework is always a rush.

I let them eat far too many sweets, sometimes they stay up too late on a school night and more often than I like my temper is short.

I am not always winning, I often look like I have rolled out of bed into the nearest clothes in the pile on the floor I’ve yet to put away (I usually have), and I probably play on my phone too much.

Something happened recently and I knew that although I might not have it all together most of the time, we must be doing something right.

It was about the leg, or now lack of leg.

We’ve been talking about the amputation with her for months, showing her videos of other people with lost limbs and setting her expectations about what Chris will be able to do at first and what he will be able to do in the future.

I wanted Lily to see Chris as soon as she could. She’s a little apprehensive about hospitals and won’t give you a cuddle if you’ve got so much of a scratch.

I asked her teachers if I could pick her up from school at lunchtime on the Thursday after his operation.

She was very excited that I had managed to get her out of school AND that she got out of lessons to make a giant card for all her friends to sign for him.

When we got to him she gave him the biggest hug, fake gagged at the catheter bag and had a look around the room.

‘Can I see it daddy? Pull your sheet back so I can see the bandage.’

‘Wow!’

‘Can I borrow your iPad?’

Already she just saw her daddy as he’d always been.

Having one leg was never going to change that for her.

Her reaction certainly helped put Chris’ mind at ease and I’ve not doubt helped with how positive he’s been and how quickly he recovered.

Now she’s planning on being world champion wheelchair pusher.

10 thoughts on “When you realise you must be doing something right

  1. This is amazing Becky – you’re all doing so brilliantly. I guess normalising it beforehand by showing all the videos and talking about it has certainly helped her. Well done to you mummy, you’re doing amazing! x x

  2. I spent 6 months looking after my dad with cancer. I was always worried I was failing my kids by not being home as much. I found explaining things to them really helped them understand why I had to spend so much time with him.
    Best wishes to you and your family x

  3. That’s wonderful – so glad that Lily took it all so well and sounds like you really prepared her well for it. My dad also lost a leg, although it was before I was born. Glad to hear that Lily’s reaction has helped Chris stay positive too. #loudnproud

  4. This brought tears to me eyes. What an amazing girl! Kids are so accepting of things we may stress about. You have done a brilliant job in preparing her and should definitely be proud of her and yourself!

  5. You’re doing an amazing job at being a parent with all this going on and it’s great her reaction has been helpful to both you and Chris 🙂 #ShareFriday

  6. I was pretty moved by your post – i always imagine child’s reaction going to be much worse than it is but of course am putting myself in their place. What a star your daughter is, though of course she’s just accepting her Dad completely. ‘Can I borrow your ipad?’ wow that’s as good as it gets – good on her and all of you x Jo #loudnproud

  7. Ahh well done mummy and aren’t kids just the absolute best. I love that she fake gagged at the catheter bag and how she’s just accepted it all. You’re an amazing mummy and a wife Becky. I hope you’re all recovering well xx.

  8. Kids surprise us all the time, when my son met our friends new partner who is confined to a wheelchair we wondered what he would say, he said ‘can you put this megazord together’ and that was it.

  9. So many of us are doing just the same, without the battle your family is fighting at the moment. It sounds like you’re doing a fantastic job with Lily and it’s testament to you both as parents that she was so unphased by it. Sending lots of love to you all xx

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