Shauna Wears Pink

I will never forget the day my doctor uttered those horrifying words “I am sorry to tell you, but that is a cancer tumor that you have in your left breast”. I was 33 years old, and my life changed forever. I invite you to read my story, learn from it and hopefully be inspired to reach out to other young women living with and beyond breast cancer.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Being a mom with breast cancer


One topic that I have not spent much time on in previous posts is my diminished role as a caregiver for my 2 year old son over the past year of treatment for breast cancer. I am fortunate in that my son has been attending a wonderful child development center since he was 2 months old. So when I was diagnosed with breast cancer a year ago, his life was not turned upside down as mine was. He continued to go to school each day and maintain the routine that he seemed to know and love so much. I would be at home reeling with nausea from a chemotherapy treatment, while he was safe at school enjoying his normal routines. So I consider myself to be very lucky in that he had a place to go each day where life was “normal”. However, as I have mentioned previously I did most of my chemotherapy treatments on a Friday which meant that I was pretty sick over the weekend when he was home from school. I always had a friend or family member around to help out on those weekends with caring for me and my son, but to be honest most of the work over the last year fell squarely on the shoulders of my husband. For over a year now he has been my caregiver as well as the primary caregiver for our son. Again, I consider myself incredibly lucky to have such a wonderfully devoted man as a husband and father to my son. But, I can’t help but feel incredibly guilty over what I view as the partial dereliction of my duties as a mother over the past year. For example, for the past almost 4 weeks since my double mastectomy surgery, I have not been able to pick-up or carry my son per the strict orders of my doctor. This has been very hard on both of us. Not only is it very sad for both my son and I, but it places an incredible burden on my husband since technically I can’t be left alone to supervise my own son. My son has been very cooperative at helping himself in and out of his crib with the use of a step-stool, and he can even get himself in and out of his car-seat and my SUV with a little coaxing from me. I try to compensate in every way that I can think of and do as much as I possibly can like supervising his bath-time and reading bed-time books. But, I still feel guilty. My son clearly loves me very much and even seems to understand at some level what I am going through…..he takes periodic breaks from jumping around the living room and couch to snuggle next to me, stroke my arms lovingly and shower me with big kisses and hugs. But when he is hurt, perceives danger or needs something, he has learned to go to his father for help. This makes perfectly logical sense since his father has been the one doing all those things for him over the past year, but it still bothers me that I have not been completely there for him as a mother should be. Again, I know I am so lucky to have such a wonderful husband as a father to my son. I am also thankful that my son seems unaffected by the past year. I know things will get better, and he will soon have his mom back. So I look forward to and dream of the day when I can again swing him around the living room and listen to him squeal with delight.

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