THE BLOG
01/07/2015 10:20 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Dear New Cancer Mom

Nicole Skaro

Dear New Cancer Mom,

I wish we'd never known each other. I wish this was a journey you'd never had to embark on. I'm still new to this journey. We've only been on it for four months. I just want you to know you are strong.

You won't feel strong when you kiss your child goodbye as he heads to surgery. They are going to cut into your child's head, remove a piece of his skull and enter his brain. That same head you cradled as you nursed him. You won't feel strong then, but you are.

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You won't feel strong as you run your hand over your child's head which was once filled with thick, luscious curls. It's now sticky and holds scars. Scars from surgeries. Scars from where they put screws into your child's head to hold it in place during surgery. You won't feel strong then, but you are.

You will be presented with papers. Papers for treatment. Where you read about toxicity, secondary cancers, low counts, infections, hearing loss, death. You won't feel strong then, but you are.

You will watch your child struggle with withdrawal, breathing, chemo. You won't feel strong then, but you are.

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You will hold your child as he retches for hours, screams in pain. His hair will fall out in clumps. You won't feel strong then, but you are.

You will collapse in agony. Agony and fear that cuts to your bone and being. You will sob deep sobs that echo through your soul. You won't feel strong then, but you are.

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You will hold your other children briefly and watch other people raise them. You won't feel strong then, but you are.

You will hold your oldest, as he screams in rage and anger about how he hates cancer. As he cries over fears his brother is going to die. You won't feel strong then, but you are.

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You will stare at your son. Unable to hold him for days. When you finally hold him, you will have more pillows and you will need two nurses to get him in your arms. He will get distressed and need to be put in bed to calm down and get safe again. You won't feel strong then, but you are.

You will watch your child struggle to cry and communicate; he is mute and makes no sound. His heart rate will soar as frustration fills his little body. You won't feel strong then, but you are.

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You will wait for scans with your breath held each time. You won't feel strong then, but you are.

You will look at a stack of bills, a low bank account, and an empty fridge. You won't feel strong then, but you are.

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You will hear your son cry after three weeks of no sound. You will hear your child giggle. You will watch in awe as he learns to sit again and reach again. You will hear him say "mama." You will get kisses. Your friends will hold you as you cry. You will push your son down halls with his tricycle as he blasts "Shake Your Groove Thing." You will come up with creative games with syringes that make your son giggle until your stomach hurts from giggling with him. Your son will place his head on your chest and cradle his face in your neck. You will feel strong then, and you are.

Sincerely,
You, in four months.

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