My emotional status is a roller coaster times 20… I am frustrated with myself, with this situation, with allowing my patients to dwindle… I know everyone says “it is natural, normal, you are only human”… But I am in the midst of this shitty situation without “in person” support……I don’t have time to be emotional….Cancer sucks, it really shakes up the life of those diagnosed and those closest to them in ways beyond the obvious…. My husband has a diagnosis that has turned from B cell lymphoma to double hit lymphoma and the treatments will progress for a while and it is scary. I am angry… I am pissed off and deeply saddened but yet I don’t know how to express this anger and sadness…. I have to be strong for everyone in my family, strong for my husband, strong for my children- we will get through this/ there is no other option…. But I run around with my hair on fire, taking the kids to and fro, getting them into their new preschools, learning yet another city, trying to get back to work, being there emotionally for my husband and my kids, trying to keep up the positive energy all while feeling defeated, exhausted, and drained because we have no real help… Nobody close by who can relieve any of the responsibility, the pressure… Even for a few hours … We need to find a sitter – we are in a new city and have been searching- hopefully by this weekend. Anyway, I feel like I am failing in every aspect of my life during this tragedy… Why can’t I get up, dust myself off and keep dancing????????
With all of the changes, moving away, getting settled somewhat, then having a Cancer diagnosis, moving to yet another location (small house with 6 people one of whom I do not have a very good relationship due to an anger management issue- another story), major surgery, and no day care or kids to play with and I had the challenge of trying to minimize the stress for my children and keep a routine of sorts. I was stressed out of my mind- worried about my husband and whether this man I love so much and who is my best friend and the loving father of our two children would survive and trying to stay positive and care for him as he was feeling pain… Scared about the possibility of life without him for my children and myself… Trying to explain what was happening to my 2 and 4 year old, trying to keep them busy and away from their dad who normally is so active but was suddenly physically unable (at least keep them from jumping on him and managing their expectations about daddy’s activity level)…..stress of our living situation …Being the only one who can care for my children and not having a break….
I am grateful that I have been able to spend a lot of time with my children although I wish it was under different circumstances. I am thankful that my kids are the best huggers in the world— no matter how shitty I might feel a good long squeeze from my kids puts a smile on my face and lifts my spirits. We were thrust into a tragic situation and our kids adjusted well, they had a few tantrums and expressed their sadness and stress in their own ways- my son had a few tantrums and also asked lots of questions to try to make sense of this in his way. My daughter (2), cried A LOT, needed her blanket more and needed to snuggle more and had tantrums like I have never seen from either of my kids… But she would release the emotions and then visibly feel better…. Both needed Mommy more and more and had a hard time leaving my side… How scary it must be for them….
The original biopsy diagnosis was retro peritoneal Sarcoma…which has a fairly low survival rate.. I was terrified but had to keep it together for everyone, my husband, my kids, my mom-in-law, friends etc. I made up my mind that the ONLY option was kicking this thing’s ass. So, immediate surgery was scheduled to remove the mass, which was quite large in the retro peritoneal area. My husband and I had a very intensely emotion and intimate conversation the night before surgery because there was a chance he would not survive— we shared so much- he is truly my soul mate, my teammate, my partner in all that we have lived, loved and endured and te idea that he might be gone is so tragic- not just for me and my children and our families but anyone he has or would encounter because he has a way of bringing out the best in people and he makes a difference in so many lives just by being the wonderful person he is… He also said something that I don’t believe many in this world can say– he said he has no regrets, he felt his life, although short, was full and rich with experience and love and he wouldn’t change a thing. Being faces with mortality gives everyone involved a reality check… Life truly is too short to sweat the small stuff… Live life and accept yourself – strengths and weaknesses.
Surgery started early in the morning and It was expected to be 6- 8 hours – it was 8. The entire day felt like déjà vu with my moms surgery… She was supposed to have an 8 hour surgery and after 30 minutes they came out and gave her a 50/50 chance of survival… So I was on edge even more – and the seriousness of the surgery would have been enough. I felt sick every time a patient number was called because I desperately did not want them to call me over early. I also had to keep it together for my mom in law who was extraordinarily negative but we managed to find a common ground. When the surgeon called us in to speak with him after 8 hours of surgery the news was good- they removed the tumor and felt they were able to get it all (which is the key to beating Sarcoma), however, hey had to remove his kidney, graft his vena cava, and pull it away from his aorta. I started to cry a blubbering cry that I could not control because I was so relieved that he was ok and I hugged the surgeon…
I got to see him in the ICU and I just wanted to hug him and tell him everything was going to be ok… He had so many tubes but seeing him briefly open his eyes and look at me I felt an overwhelming sense of relief and felt his fighting spirit kick into high gear. I settled for rubbing his arm and telling him, “I love you so much and everything is going to be just fine”…
Well, my life has made a very sharp and drastic turn upside down and inside out….my husband was diagnosed with cancer and it has been a long and crazy couple of months. It is a complicated story with lots of changes in diagnosis along the way so I am going to share this journey from my perspective as the wife of a patient and mother of two very young children 2 1/2 and almost 5 years old. I hope this will help my sanity and maybe a few others who may stumble upon this as well.
Let me start by saying out loud that this sucks and it is amazing how hearing that 6 letter word can bring you to your knees and change your life in so many ways… Terrifying, yes but you learn a lot about yourself and the people around you…. More to come on this
We were settling into our new home (to which we had moved 2 months prior) and my husband started to have a pain in his lower abdomen that he thought might be a hernia. I had to go out of town and returned the day he was admitted to the hospital… They had done an ultrasound and found the tumor but there were no other symptoms… Not even in bloodwork…. He ended up getting a stent from his kidney to his bladder to try to stop the pain which was quickly becoming unbearable but it only seemed to worsen the pain. Then we were referred to another doctor in another area and had to crash with family for a while.
Today I realized that in seeing my friends 4 year old twins melt down I felt more normal… I think we often forget that kids are kids…. all kids will have melt downs, they will be sweet one minute, devilish the next, and then offer the biggest sweetest hug ever… then in a moment have a complete melt down because you didn’t put the cheese on the taco in quite the right way :). I can laugh now but when engrossed in being busy parents I often feel helpless in those moments – when you try every way possible to approach or leave alone or modify and often the child just needs to release that emotion and it likely doesn’t have to do with whatever the focus at the moment may be…. they release, they hug and typically a few moments later they are happy again. Since we often do not see those meltdowns from other children I sometimes wonder – are we doing something wrong? We aren’t – we offer choices and are firm and consistent and focus on be attentive to good behaviors etc… but kids are kids and they express emotions outward which is so healthy. It happens in all homes with toddlers – although I felt for my friend as she was handling the double meltdown with such grace… I also had a moment of relief that she goes through it too….. 🙂
Maybe we can take a lesson from our toddlers… wouldn’t it be nice after a long, grueling day at the office to come home and just cry or yell openly but not directed at anyone and then hug someone you love and it all be ok? I am going to work harder and be more mindful of my true emotions… throughout my life I have learned to bottle it up and put everyone else’s emotions ahead of mine… I even take on others emotions and hold onto them… instead of acknowledging the emotion, showing sympathy and then releasing…. I used to watch a specific movie that would trigger the emotions in me so I could have my own melt down.. cry and I always felt better….
How do you release emotions when you feel stressed, overwhelmed, sad, angry, etc…
I have had a lot of events happening over the last few weeks and I think I just didn’t realize it was affecting me until my husband mentioned that I have been a bit edgy and that maybe I should take some time to think about what/how I am feeling. He knows me so well… I often get wrapped up in doing and making sure everyone else is ok and happy and forget to look at myself or in my heart. I now realize that within a matter of the last 2 weeks it was my son’s birthday, the second anniversary of my mom’s death and my 5 year wedding anniversary. The birthday was so much fun but stressful, the second anniversary of my mom’s death was difficult, and my 5 year anniversary was wonderful. I think I have been trying to keep my brain and body busy focusing on everything else and not dealing with my mom’s death. It has been 2 years and I miss her. I seem to be stuck in a revolving door of emotions – anger, acceptance, sadness. I feel angry that she died, I feel angry that she is unable to meet my daughter, I feel sad that my kids will not know their “mimi” (who was the best grandma you could ever hope for), I feel sad that my friend and my mom is gone, I feel angry that she stopped fighting….this is the hardest to deal with. I know she was tired and deep down I know she made the right decision and that she is no longer suffering… and I realize that I am being selfish but I feel angry and then I feel sad because I had always thought she would be a part of my life, a part of my kids lives, a voice of reason, a caring and fun loving grandma… my son loved (loves) her so much – he spent a lot of time with her in his first 2 years and they were able to hang out the night before she died – he was making her laugh out loud and he was just beaming and giggling. I miss those moments… she was the first to make him laugh when he was so teeny and she so loved him. I know she would have been the same with my daughter and it makes me sad that she will never meet her…. she only rubbed my belly when I was pregnant and laughed when my daughter would kick :).
I miss her daily…. I do find comfort that I was able to be there with her for her last day and last breath and to watch her pass peacefully…. I am happy she is no longer suffering… but I will always miss her because she was such a caring person and a loving friend….
I took on the wonderful and very difficult task of coaching soccer to a team of 3-4 year olds – some who have just turned 3 and some who are 4 or 4+ and a few in between. This is a difficult task for a million reasons but a few obvious ones are the developmental differences between a child who just turned 3 and one who is 4 and also the ability to focus.
The first few practices were a mixture of fun, chaos and a few goals…. we played fun games to teach them fundamentals – dribbling, NO HANDS :), shooting, defense, etc. We played “Sharks and Minnows”, Pirates Treasure, Keep away, get the coach, etc. The favorites are Pirate Treasure and Get the Coach… so we stick to those most practices. As the coach, the most difficult task during practice is keeping all 9 of them on the field. The first practice we had some wandering into the bushes, walking into the building adjacent the field (the local YMCA), hanging with their parents on the sidelines, picking grass, etc. The second practice was better, the third was much better and I introduced the concept of goal side and many of them picked up on it quickly. It is amazing how you can see the defensive and offensive minded players developing already!
After practices I am exhausted, from carrying little ones to and from and jumping around and running to keep their attention and get them to first and foremost LOVE the game or just sport in general and have fun and second to learn a few fundamentals.
In coaching, you have to learn the players as each responds to a different manner of coaching (or parenting). This is where the lesson has come into play. I had read and read about ways to interact with my own kids and tried to put it into action and then through working different angles with the team I began to work harder on them at home.
I always get down on their level to explain anything and to talk to them. I make time to chat with them individually and I try to make time to chat with their parents and ensure I give them praise in front of their parents (so important because they light up and look at their parents like – did you hear that – and are so proud of themselves – which is so important for self esteem). I also learned to give it time and truly be patient because as you continue to try and work with them at their pace instead of rushing it.. they enjoy it much more and really do make steps (baby steps) toward playing and having fun on the field or in life. A few of the players were hesitant at first and sometimes at practice are very distracted but I get them involved as much as I can and in the 2nd game – they wanted to play the entire hour! It is on their terms or a perception of being on ‘their terms’ and they will get there – patience is the key. You cannot force it but lead by example, encourage and be positive, point out all of the positive – even if it is something that to you may seem so minor (ex: getting on the field even if they don’t touch the ball but being on the field with the team), try to empathize and truly feel what they are feeling and NEVER focus on a negative aspect (Don’t say – why didn’t you xxx).
1) Lead by example – look at yourself and how you interact with others. Truly take a look and be aware of your “attitude” and reactions. Your child is learning from you by watching your actions not just hearing your words when you speak to him/her. So make sure you are a positive example. Interactions with your spouse, family, friends, strangers should be positive and even during arguments it should be fair, communicative and using good listening skills. Your example in terms of nutrition and exercise are also important. If you eat well, your child will eat well – also what you have in your home is what the child will eat – if you stock up on whole foods and make them accessible – your child will eat them! Be respectful and teach them how to be respectful. If they show disrespect – explain to them what and why it was disrespectful (in a calm tone at their level) and let them know that if they do that again there will be a consequence (time out, reward taken away, etc) without warning.
2) Give them opportunities to be independent, to be a leader
3) Show and teach good sportsmanship
4) Foster a positive environment that feels safe
5) Talk with them at eye level and explain why they should/shouldn’t do something – they often understand more than we think they do
6) Empathize – try to understand what it feels like in their shoes and talk about it out loud – example: A child who is afraid to go on the field – instead of saying come on the field – it will be ok – Try: It is scary out there with all of those kids you don’t know so well, huh. Sometimes I feel nervous when I meet new people too. Would you like to come out with me and meet a few first? or Your mom/dad can come with you and dribble and pass with you. Then when you feel comfortable, maybe you can come show how great your shot is! Kids feel things differently than adults do and sometimes we have to remember what it is like to experience things for the first time – it can be scary! Instead of saying – it’ll be ok- validate their feeling and let them experience that it is ok.
7) Have patience – don’t rush it and don’t compare one child to another…. kids develop at different rates
So we have had 2 games and the first was all about getting used to being in a game situation. Some tears, some bumps and bruises and a few ‘own’ goals :). The second game was a masterpiece – they played well together – most of them were comfortable on the field, they were cheering each other on. The older ones became leaders, helping the younger ones feel comfortable… we won, had fun and scored 6 goals – 5 goals and only one ‘own’ goal (an own goal is one that is scored in your net (counts for the other team)). 🙂 I look forward to the rest of the season and hopefully having everyone on the field playing together and enjoying it! SO MUCH FUN!