This is a new addition to our blog. We will be featuring people who have been touched by cancer as well as people from the Nana's Box family (recipients of Nana Boxes) If you are interested in being feature please contact us.
Today's Fabulous Feature Friday is a dear friend of mine, Elisha. She is sharing her side of the story of having a mom who was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.
Elisha and I met in Kindergarten, 22 years ago, and connected right away because we both realized that we were "brown" (she is half Hawaiian, and I am half Niuean) We have been bossom buddies ever since. When Elisha was 21 she found out her mom was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Last year the cancer came back, this time in her spine. This is cancer from a child's perspective:
Nana's Box: When did you find out your mom had cancer?
Elisha: I first found out my mom had cancer in the summer of 2002. Her younger brother had just died of and I was attending college at BYU. I found out the second time last year. She was having back problems and thought it was because she fell down in her P.E. class. The doctors did tests and found that it was really cancer, so the fall was a blessing in disguise.
NB: What was the hardest part about finding out?
E:Not knowing what I could do to help.
NB: Did you want to know everything?
E: No, I didn't want to know anything the first time. I was convinced that God would not take my mom from our family because he knew how much we needed her to be with us. For that reason I didn't help out very much at home because I was in denial that it was a serious issue. The second time I wanted to know more so that I could be more supportive. I learned later on after the first time that it was a very difficult time emotionally for my mother.
NB: What brought you hope and courage during the scary times?
E: I will be honest and say there were and have been no scary times for me. (Now my mom will have a different story, I am sure.) For the most part I have just been sure that, like I said, I just have banked on the fact that God would not take my mom away from our family.
NB: What advice do you have for parents when telling their children about their cancer?
E: Stick to the facts. Let your children know that you have feelings and briefly what they consist of. In a lot of cases I don't suggest going into great detail on your most intimate feelings on the subject. In some cases, including my own, this can lead to a feeling of helplessness and guilt in not being able to help out in the part of the child. I feel as though it is good to clearly define what each person's role is so that everyone clearly understands what their responsibility is in the matter.
NB: How has her cancer changed your life?
E: Well, for one, I try to watch what I eat. I try to stick to a lot of vegetables, anti-oxidants, multivitamins, and flax (with lignan). I maintain an active and healthy life style and do things that allow me to keep my stress level down. Things like quiet time, journal writing, enjoying nature.
NB: How has it changed the relationship between your mom and you? Between your family?
E: My mom and I have become closer in that we understand each others role in the matter. My family and I, I think, have come to be more compassionate and aware of each others needs.
October is Breast Cancer Awarness Month, for more information on cancer and when a women should get her first mamogram visit any of the cancer links on the left of our blog or visit the American Cancer Sociteys website. For more information on how to tell your child about your diagnosis visit this site.