Supporting Team Max
Hi my names Jodie and I’m an oncology mum.
What does that mean?
To be honest it doesn’t mean I’m anything special, it means I’m just like you, trying to get through the day with my children still alive!
No different, no better but perhaps a bit sadder.
I was asked to write this article and they said it’s about being a mum, write about you. About me? Gosh, erm, I like um chocolate and, oh, wine! Yeah- bring on the wine, but that wouldn’t make for a very good article so instead I’m going to refer to the journal I wrote after my son was diagnosed with cancer.
What is it like when your child is diagnosed with cancer? You hear it, you think you know what it means but you don’t. Yes, it’s awful, yes of course you wish it was you and not your child but you don’t really know what it means, you can’t until it happens to you, to your child. It means horror, it means insanity, it means people you never would have doubted, you now will never trust again. It means understanding hell and even when you think you do finding there are several layers to hell.
Your new language develops, blood counts, neutrophils, your crash course in pediatric oncology has to happen overnight. You have to watch your child in unimaginable pain whilst smiling so that they aren’t more scared than they already are. It’s confusing, bewildering and exhausting but you have to be at the top of your game to get you and your child through it.
Don’t look on the internet. It’s one of the first things they tell you. But you do and then you find out why you shouldn’t and wished you hadn’t. The statistics are always a fun way to mess with your head. 450 children are diagnosed with Leukaemia a year. I find myself comparing this number to many things. You can fit more people (twice over) into St Mary’s Church. The population of a town, the amount of people you can get on a plane. 450… that’s not a lot.
So of course this leads to the question… why us? Why my child? You’ll never know why, but it doesn’t stop you asking.
Even now some three years after my son finished his grueling three years, two months of treatment, I ask it often. So for my son its over- he is done. Party! Right? Return to ‘normality’ whatever that maybe. Yes, we are so happy that this nightmare is over for him but it’s never over.
The fear of relapse is enormous, the after effects of the years of chemo are hard, the memory of the children who didn’t make it is devastating. Has this experience made me a better mother? No,but it’s made me a different mother. One who doesn’t care as much about things I used to think were important. The little menial moments of everyday life with children are to be treasured. Even when your microwaving your stone cold tea for the third time to try and attempt a moment to sit down and you find poo on the sofa and whilst trying to clean it up kneel on a piece of Lego. That’s life and trust me when you know the alternative you wouldn’t want to swop it.
It’s been said a 100 times and been illustrated in millions of online memes and posts, but I guess what I would say is “Appreciate the little things, because one day you’ll turn around and realise they were the big things”
Since my son’s diagnosis, I have joined together with friends, family and hundreds of amazing local people to form ‘Team Max’, and each year we raise hundreds of pounds for various charities supporting children with cancer. We are always looking for extra support and new faces to join us at our events. If you would like to find out more about our fundraising plans please visit our facebook page.
Thank you for your continuous love and support.