"Tell Them What You Want"

75102 Story Views


"Tell Them What You Want"

When I was in my middle twenties, my mother was diagnosed with colon cancer. We didn't say the word "cancer" out loud then. We whispered it. It was like you had a contagious disease. No one wanted to drink out of your cup. It was a dirty secret to be kept. I just heard certain words then, like "platelets" and "white blood cells." I never asked any questions. I was never told anything. My mother had an operation. She had treatment. Only later did I realize it must have been chemotherapy. She kept getting weaker. My children were four and six years old. I had carpool with other mothers and their children for them. I never told any of my friends about my mother's illness. It seemed I was always at the hospital, and crying a lot. I wasn't sleeping well. I'd get anxious about my mother. I felt her mortality, hers and mine were mixed up together, and I would feel faint. I went from doctor to doctor to find out what drastic disease I had. Of course, I had nothing. I was scared and couldn't face my mother's imminent death. One day, I forgot all the children in the carpool at the school. When they finally tracked me down, they told me the kids all had to wait an hour and a half before they could arrange another mother to come and pick them up. Some were crying and scared. I felt horrible. I had left them out in the cold. My mother had had a crisis in the hospital, and it took up all my brain space. I had totally forgotten it was my carpool day. I had never said, "I need some help" to anyone. I tried to act as though life was running as usual. But it wasn't. I wasn't. I needed help. It's okay to tell people what you need. My mother never recovered, and subsequently died within the next year. But my friends helped me with my children after that. They were happy to help. I learned something that day. If you don't tell anyone what you want, how will they know? Tell them!


Sign in or to post a comment on this story!

Beverlye, Thanks so much for this very important story. First let me say that I can remember the same dirty secret in my house growing up. We never said the "C" word, Cancer either. I remember my mom and dad talking one afternoon when they thought us kids were not in ear shot of my grandfather having "C". They didn't even say the word to each other! But your point about asking for help is so important. When you are a caregiver, things can get so overwhelming and there are so many things to remember. There is a fantastic company called Lots Of Helping Hands where people can go to set up a personal calendar outlining all the things they need help with and the days and times they need them - Like picking up the kids from school. Then there family, friends and love ones can log into their calendar and sign up for the things that need to be done. I really love what they are doing and the benefit they provide to patients and caregivers. I am so happy to hear from you and I hope all is well. I truly appreciate you sharing your stories with our community and As Always - Be Well. Dave

Jul 09, 2013 - 7:33 PM by David D

Join the community!

You must be a member of healtheo360 in order to view this group

Register with Email Address

Already a member? Click here to login

healtheo360 believes strongly in user privacy.