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The fear of not being there for my boys

1
In 2017 I was shocked to learn I had stage III colon cancer at the age of 40. I have always been a healthy eater and a lover of exercise. I hardly drink and I’ve never smoked, so my diagnosis was something I simply couldn’t understand. I remember sitting in hospital, following a colonoscopy, waiting for my results. A specialist nurse came in and told us that it was most likely cancer, but that I would need more tests to confirm this. My husband and I sat there speechless. Everything else thereafter was a bit of a haze.
Two weeks later I had a scan,
SelfishMother.com
2
which confirmed that the cancer had not spread. We were in the middle of a house move, and I remember the nurse calling me to say: “I just want to let you know, it is good news. The cancer has not spread, so go ahead and get on with your move and don’t worry about things for now.” It’s hard to explain, but I remember feeling so incredibly happy over this result, it actually felt like a small victory. Over the next couple of weeks I had further tests and surgery to remove the tumour was scheduled for the following month.
When you get a cancer
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diagnosis, your body immediately goes into a fight and flight mode. You start off by fearing the worst. You plan your funeral, go over your will and cry every time you look at your children. As a mum of two young boys, there is no thought in the world worse than that of not seeing your children growing up. To me this just wasn’t an option, so very early on, I decided to fight this disease with all that I had.
We decided from the start not to tell the boys that I had cancer, but just that I was poorly and needed to go to hospital on and off over the
SelfishMother.com
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next few months. We explained that I had a poorly tummy and that I would need the doctors to make it better. My then 5 year old, got quite anxious and weepy and asked lots of questions. The 3-year-old didn’t quite understand what was going on.

Following my surgery it was revealed that the cancer had spread to my lymphnodes. I was hoping to escape further treatment, but with stage III cancer, chemotherapy was recommended. I wasn’t keen, but when they said that it would increase my chances of surviving 5 years by 50%, I went ahead.

In October

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2017 I started 8 cycles of chemo. The treatment made me fatigued and one of the drugs also gave me neuropathy of the hands and feet, which basically is spasms, cramps and sensitivity to cold. I am incredibly lucky to have such an incredible support network. Family and friends accompanied me to treatment every few weeks and looked after me afterwards. Chemotherapy was always on a Friday. On these days, the children went to stay with their granny for the weekend so that I could rest.

Having chemotherapy makes you so tired and any routines are constantly

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broken. During treatment I let the kids watch too much TV. I was too tired to fight any battles. Being ill made me lose my patience a lot. I got too fatigued to stand my ground. It’s just one of those things. You just have to ride with it.

My advice to anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer, try not to read too much into statistics. Eveyone’s situation is different. I also recommend taking a proactive approach during treatment. I found this made me feel somewhat in control of the situation. Also, try and stick to your regular routines. Children

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love routine. I found that taking them to school and their activities made us feel somewhat normal. Above all, my main piece of advice is to find your own Why? The reason why you will get through this. Mine was my kids and my rock of a husband. They kept me going every single day.

I am currently in remission. I’m determined to live my life to the maximum and I won’t let what I’ve been through define me.

SelfishMother.com
Maria Honeker

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- 10 Jun 19

In 2017 I was shocked to learn I had stage III colon cancer at the age of 40. I have always been a healthy eater and a lover of exercise. I hardly drink and I’ve never smoked, so my diagnosis was something I simply couldn’t understand. I remember sitting in hospital, following a colonoscopy, waiting for my results. A specialist nurse came in and told us that it was most likely cancer, but that I would need more tests to confirm this. My husband and I sat there speechless. Everything else thereafter was a bit of a haze.

Two weeks later I had a scan, which confirmed that the cancer had not spread. We were in the middle of a house move, and I remember the nurse calling me to say: “I just want to let you know, it is good news. The cancer has not spread, so go ahead and get on with your move and don’t worry about things for now.” It’s hard to explain, but I remember feeling so incredibly happy over this result, it actually felt like a small victory. Over the next couple of weeks I had further tests and surgery to remove the tumour was scheduled for the following month.

When you get a cancer diagnosis, your body immediately goes into a fight and flight mode. You start off by fearing the worst. You plan your funeral, go over your will and cry every time you look at your children. As a mum of two young boys, there is no thought in the world worse than that of not seeing your children growing up. To me this just wasn’t an option, so very early on, I decided to fight this disease with all that I had.

We decided from the start not to tell the boys that I had cancer, but just that I was poorly and needed to go to hospital on and off over the next few months. We explained that I had a poorly tummy and that I would need the doctors to make it better. My then 5 year old, got quite anxious and weepy and asked lots of questions. The 3-year-old didn’t quite understand what was going on.

Following my surgery it was revealed that the cancer had spread to my lymphnodes. I was hoping to escape further treatment, but with stage III cancer, chemotherapy was recommended. I wasn’t keen, but when they said that it would increase my chances of surviving 5 years by 50%, I went ahead.

In October 2017 I started 8 cycles of chemo. The treatment made me fatigued and one of the drugs also gave me neuropathy of the hands and feet, which basically is spasms, cramps and sensitivity to cold. I am incredibly lucky to have such an incredible support network. Family and friends accompanied me to treatment every few weeks and looked after me afterwards. Chemotherapy was always on a Friday. On these days, the children went to stay with their granny for the weekend so that I could rest.

Having chemotherapy makes you so tired and any routines are constantly broken. During treatment I let the kids watch too much TV. I was too tired to fight any battles. Being ill made me lose my patience a lot. I got too fatigued to stand my ground. It’s just one of those things. You just have to ride with it.

My advice to anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer, try not to read too much into statistics. Eveyone’s situation is different. I also recommend taking a proactive approach during treatment. I found this made me feel somewhat in control of the situation. Also, try and stick to your regular routines. Children love routine. I found that taking them to school and their activities made us feel somewhat normal. Above all, my main piece of advice is to find your own Why? The reason why you will get through this. Mine was my kids and my rock of a husband. They kept me going every single day.

I am currently in remission. I’m determined to live my life to the maximum and I won’t let what I’ve been through define me.

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