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In honour of Mother’s Day and the release of our new resource: Talking to Kids About Metastatic Breast Cancer, we’re sharing the revealing yet vulnerable stories from mothers in our community to help pull back the curtain that an MBC diagnosis hangs over motherhood.

 

My kids.
Sigh.
Tears well at the thought.

The thought of all they’ve had to witness and bear having a mom with cancer that won’t go away. The cancer that came back after the operation and all the special medicines and all the special lights.

As much as we try to keep life ‘normal’ for them, they see the medicines in the fridge, the calendar with appointment after appointment after appointment, the mom who is always resting as they bound through the door after a long day at school. They try not to show their disappointment when I can’t always attend school events because of germ factors or activity expectations, but I see and hear it in their voices and it breaks my heart just a little more every time.

They are resilient, no doubt, but they’ve been given a burden in life that is heavy. Their little shoulders were never meant to carry so much. It’s not fair, but it’s the reality. People often tell me how strong I am, how amazed they are at my ability to ‘keep it together’ with it all. But any mom in my shoes is doing the same. Doing the best they can with whatever life has thrown at them. Because our kids deserve nothing less than the best of us. Sure, the best might sometimes take a backseat to the tired and sore and troubled or distant, but you find a way to move past it and keep going. For them. Always for them.

So if you want to help a mom with cancer, help her kids. Share some love, a little patience, a helping hand, a treat, some gentle words, a kind gesture. My heart is lighter knowing the diamonds of my life, my greatest treasures, my loves, are carried through life with the help of our village.

Chloe, T.J. and Maddie –
The words I want to say to you sometimes get tangled up in all the lovestrings connecting you to my heart. But every day, I tell you I love you. Every, every day. So that the echo of those little words, shared by your mom, heard a million times over as you grew and grew and grew, are with you always, no matter what.


 

Navigating metastatic or stage 4 breast cancer presents its own set of unique needs and challenges, especially when it comes to communicating this disease to family members. Rethink Breast Cancer’s new resource: Talking to Kids About Metastatic Breast Cancer, written by Child Life Specialist Morgan Livingstone, offers tools and tips for creating a healthy environment by talking to children openly and honestly about all stages of MBC, from diagnosis, through treatment and end of life. For more information on Rethink’s resources for young families, visit this page.

 


 

Vesna Zic-Côté is a member of Rethink’s Metastatic Breast Cancer Advisory Board. Initially diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, Vesna is now in active treatment for Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) since early 2017.