By: Kelly Eger
The past few days have been heavy and full of emotions.
First, I have that feeling in my gut that something isn’t totally right with our son. He looks fine, appears to be happy, and doesn’t want to start school in a couple of weeks, but something is off. Little things like a 4-hour nap in the middle of the afternoon, the excess weight gain, the lack of energy, muscle soreness, and the ability to instantly cry is making my mom senses go crazy. We always joked that he can be a bit lazy, but this is that parent intuition, pit in your stomach kind of feeling. I’m hoping it’s a case of "scananxiety" because it is alive and living in me.
Additionally, our friend’s MRI scans came back and they are worse, not better. I stared at my phone as I typed words then erased them, typed some more and then erased them again, thinking about what I should say. I ended up with: “This F-ing sucks.” Three words that took my forever to write and sadly summed it up perfectly. They were handed a booklet that talks to you how to help your child live out their final wishes. I still can’t wrap my mind around it.
To top it off, we dropped off our boys at a camp for kids with cancer and their siblings. This is meant to be a day of fun and laughter. Our son was so excited to see his buddy. However, it quickly turned into tears because his buddy cannot go because he was running a fever and ended up in the ER instead. A fever in our world could be detrimental. Instead of playing at camp, he headed down to the ER. AND it’s our friend’s little sister’s birthday today. I could see that she was struggling feeling guilty about wanting to go while she watched her brother cry.
Cancer rips the fun out of our lives.
In these small moments of the day, I cried, got angry, felt guilty, and was depressed for things I have no control of. The question for me and hopefully you too is - What do I have control of? I thought about this and decided I can do any (and hopefully all) of the following three things.
Maybe you want to help but are not exactly connected to cancer families like we are. I am here to tell you, you can still step up. Organizations like My Friend Linkin are always in need of people to support them. Do you eat? Head over to their local food fundraiser! Do you like to have fun? Show up for their event and purchase a raffle ticket or two! Can you give? Try a local blood drive, a shoe donation, provide a good book, or your time! Do you have a job? Talk to your leadership about ways you would like to get your coworkers to step up big through corporate sponsorship of an organization or host a donation party.
You can control how you help these families one on one. Be a friend, not by asking how I can help, but actually stating what you are going to do. I am ordering groceries to be delivered to your house any specific request, I will be at your place this afternoon to do the laundry, going on a Starbucks run, or we are headed to the splash pad this Friday and we want to take the kids.
Surrendering isn’t easy but what is and what we can control is the time we spend in prayer. Say – “Hey God, What’s Up? We need your help.” I turn to Him to talk this through my emotions. I know this can be difficult step for some but I find it relaxes me to speak to Him about my fears and ask for help.
In the end, only we can control our feelings and by doing so, we may not control the outcome, but we do control how we can react to the outcome. By learning how to control this, we are able to respond in a more cognizant way to our friends and family and provide support where needed.