What Would You Tell a Newly Diagnosed ALL Family? | Part 2
Did your family receive a new diagnosis of ALL? We know that sometimes the best people to talk to during moments such as these are those that have been through it themselves. Here at Rally we talked extensively with three ALL mothers who are in the unique position to offer their personal advice and observations during this journey.
This is Part II of the wisdom and practical advice from Rally Moms Amy, Brigitte, and Nour.
About Your Marriage / Relationship:
Brigette: Consider marriage counseling even if you are in a good place in your marriage. Treatment has a way of dividing marriages many times before you realize it.
Amy: If you are married, protect your marriage. Our experience was that of becoming roommates who rarely saw each other, were always tired, were always stressed, and were not able to have conversations beyond treatment decisions, dealing with siblings, and the very most basic necessities of life.
The best advice that I was given at the beginning from a good friend who I had specifically asked to pray for our marriage: Choose right now to forgive your husband for whatever is to come. And let me tell you, when I was sitting in a hospital room waiting for him to bring me real food and he decided to take a nap first in the comfort of our home, that advice came in handy. That’s just one example. Your marriage can become stronger through this, but it takes more intentional work than you have probably done before. If you don’t put in the work, the statistics on divorce among the childhood cancer community are staggering…and I completely understand why.
About Your Family:
Brigette: I wish I had placed our family in counseling as soon as Briley was diagnosed. Having a safe place to vent so you do not have to with your friends and family who do not understand is a great tool.
Amy: In whatever way you can, spend time with your other children too. Even though it seems impossible to leave your sick child, get a friend to come to the hospital and go to your other children’s events or just spend time with them. I highly recommend counseling for siblings too! It’s a lot to take in!
Nour: Don’t forget the ALL diagnosis affects the entire family. Focus on your cancer kiddo but don’t forget your partner or other kids are also dealing with the implications this diagnosis brings.
Brigette: You have to live in the safety gauge of your family, no one else’s. If sending your child to school and events is a safe place for you, do that. If it is not, it’s ok to say that doesn’t work for my family.
Nour: It’s really hard in the beginning. The shower is a great place to fall apart.
Brigette: Remember to take care of yourself as a parent. Many parents stop going to the doctor or dentist. They often take no time for themselves because there is no time. Try to be intentional about taking care of yourself.
Nour: Look for the JOY in everything. Find it and hold onto it with everything you’ve got. Small things can brighten your day and help you be grateful during this devastating time and spread the joy to your warrior.
You can check Rally’s website for Part I of this conversation. While we spoke with ALL moms, we think parents and families of many other kids fighting childhood cancer can benefit from this advice as well.