This month I’m awarding a Perfect Post Award to Toddler Planet, my hero and girl crush. WhyMommy’s one-woman public service campaign to use the Internet to alert all women to early detection of inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) and other forms of breast cancer is awe inspiring, and her incredible writings as she battles cancer while raising two little guys and loves her husband are the stuff you forward to your entire address book, hit “print” and tape up to remind you of what really matters in this world.
Well, now WhyMommy will officially have to change her screen name to SUPERMommy, because her latest project is mind-blowingly amazing: She’s starting a website and group blog to help mothers with cancer. Due to the large number of commenters on her blog that are also facing cancer as mothers and searching for answers and a community of support, WhyMommy, with the help of some other intrepid writers, is creating a space for these women. Read on and you’ll see why she’s the Perfect Post awardee in my humble opinion.
The following is an original Toddler Planet post. All rights reserved by WhyMommy of Toddler Planet.
Have you ever read my comments? I mean, have you ever really, really read my comments? I do, and my heart breaks. So many women are coming here now, finding me after their own cancer diagnosis or that of a loved one, and looking for support. I am doing the best that I can, emailing each one and offering support when I can, but honestly, I don’t think I have the reserves to do this all on my own.
I can’t do it all on my own.
It’s only been 5 weeks since I finished radiation myself, and I haven’t even had my first scans to see if the cancer is really gone yet. I’m doing well (oh, this week has been fabulous — I will tell you all about it soon!), but I’m really troubled by this new development. I want to help. I want to help all the women who come here needing love and support and encouragement, especially as they figure out how to talk to their children about cancer. But they need more than just me.
I think they need all of you.
I’m starting a group blog for mothers with cancer. It’s just a blog, a space for moms with cancer (and their friends and those who love them) to come and talk about their struggles, their fears, their hopes, their joys. Their delight in another day with their children. Their experiences as they battle this thing, for the first or the third or fourth time. Their hope for the future, and the legacy that they wish to leave. It won’t take the place of anyone’s individual blog/work, but I’m hoping that several moms with cancer will be willing to crosspost an essay once every week or two so that we can gather together in one place and see what is really going on.
Perhaps we’ll be dealing with the same issues; perhaps it’s a totally individual experience. I don’t know. What I do know is that I have gained strength this year from visiting friends and their blogs (Stella, Sarah, Aimee, Angela, Judy, Tina, Andrea, Sarah S, One MWC, Jess, Susan R, I’m talking to you), and seeing how they deal with these difficult issues as I do as well. It’s kind of a strength in numbers thing.
You all have nurtured me; you have held my hand; you have helped me beat cancer, of all things. Team WhyMommy has WON this game. I love you all, and I am so indebted to you. (And yes, Andrea, I do have a book proposal in draft, just to thank you all — anyone know what to do with it?) I certainly don’t want you to leave, but I think that there are enough moms coming here looking for something that maybe together we can help.
Together, we can help each other, and we friends of those with those with cancer can help those who are fighting it right now.
For, let’s remember, 1 in 3 of us will eventually fight cancer. It’s never easy. But my heart goes out right now in particular to those with little ones; for, whether you tell them right away or they’re too young to know, this will affect them for the rest of their lives. It’s a critical time, and there is very little advice out there on how to get through it (I know of only two children’s books and a couple web pages here and there). Maybe together we can pool our resources and gather the information in one place. We can post about our own struggles, and things that helped. We can figure out together how to help our children.
That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Figuring out how best to raise our children? That doesn’t change when mommy gets cancer.
What do you think? This is just a germ of an idea right now, but I think its time has come. I’d love to hear feedback in the comments — and anyone who’s interested in joining the group blog as an author (you don’t have to be a mom with cancer, but it helps) or helping in another way (Jessica has already volunteered to help promote the new site, to get the information into the hands of moms who need it) is very welcome to join in. The end result I hope is an answer to my very first fear: that, while fighting cancer, my husband, babies and I would be all alone. I needed to hear those magic words that now I want to pass on to all moms with cancer, frightened or emboldened, who may need to learn to accept support instead of always giving it:
You are not alone.
If you are interested in helping with the group blog and website for mothers with cancer, visit Toddler Planet!