I’m a mom. I’m a cook, housekeeper, uber driver, friend, nurse, teacher, psychologist, and so much more – a mom. It’s my favorite title. It’s the most rewarding, most difficult job that I have or ever will have. In June 2013, I added cancer mom to my list.
My daughter, Lily, was eight. After several weeks of just not feeling “right”, I took her to the doctor. Within hours she was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia – our family’s journey with childhood cancer began and I became a cancer mom.
Lily was amazing and brave and all things that children with cancer are. She stubbornly went to school as often as possible, she underwent LPs without sedation, she played two sports, she lost her hair several times, she went with the flow, she did lots of Lego sets and she taught me how to #FightLikeAGirl.
I don’t think there are many things in the world harder than being a mom and not being able to fix or help your child.
Just shy of two years into Lily’s treatment, and about 6 months from her finishing, her twin sister, Bailey, was diagnosed with the same cancer. As a mom, I was utterly, absolutely, totally devastated. I was completely…. broken. I could not imagine doing this all over again. I did not want to do this all over again.
Bailey (and our whole family) had the distinct advantage of knowing what to expect. Bailey (and our whole family) also had the definite disadvantage of knowing what to expect.
Again, Bailey was amazing and brave and all things that children with cancer are. She missed lots of school, she made honor roll, she underwent LPs without sedation, she enjoyed music, she lost her hair several times, she suffered anxiety, she empathized, and she taught me how to #FightLikeAGirl.
Both of my daughters are now considered survivors. I am blessed and honored to be their mom. Their journey has forever changed them. It has changed all of us; their strong older sister who watched her siblings battle for years, our family, and me – as a person and as a mom.
I will never be able to answer their questions of “Why”. Why? Why does it take so long to treat? Why all these pills that make me feel worse? Why isn’t it easier? Why isn’t there a better treatment? Why isn’t there a cure? Why me? Why my sister? Why cancer? Why our family? Why twice?
I will never be able to undo all they went through – physically, mentally, emotionally or socially. I will never be able to take away their hurt when a friend they met because of their journey, relapses or passes. I will never be able to take away all of the long-term health problems that they are virtually guaranteed to have by middle age.
These are things that I will always deal with. Things that their mom cannot fix.
All three of my girls are the strongest girls I know. I am so proud to be their mom.
-Erin Dove, MACC ELB Member & Cancer Mom