Being a Cancer Mom

By: Ellie Ewoldt

Once, over the span of years, I brought four children into this world and because of this, I am called “mom”.

Now, cancer has brought one of my children, Chase, into its world, and I tagged along for the sake of love and survival. So, now, I am called a “cancer mom”.

This is my story and there are fourteen months of “there’s a less than 20% chance”-beating treatment, well over a hundred inpatient days, as many outpatient days, ER runs, ever so many blood and platelet transfusions, nine chemotherapy drugs, multiple surgeries, and endless procedures and tests saying that I’m a cancer mom. I have been there, done that…and I even have a few hospital tee shirts to prove it.

VIDEO: Chase’s Childhood Cancer Story >

Once, the thought of an ER run was a nightmare. Now, the hospital is so normal that we don’t even sense a nightmare from which we wish to wake.

Once, we rode in cars. Now, we ride in ambulances and we feel lucky because he’s never needed a helicopter.

Once, I held him in my arms and rubbed a wondering hand over his nearly hairless baby head while he cooed up into my face. Now, I hold his too-thin, too-white body around all the cords and tubes, running a tender hand over his totally hairless chemo head while he whimpers in pain and exhaustion.

Once, I cut up food on colorful plates while we sat around the table and laughed together. Now, I inject everything he needs to keep him alive into an IV bag and attach it to his central line because for sixteen straight months it would hurt too much to eat.

Once, we sang songs about his eyes, ears and nose. Now, I alert the school teachers that he’s already had two eye surgeries and his hearing is starting to fade.

BLOG: Chase’s New Glasses >

Once, we brushed our teeth and got a drink of water before being tucked into bed. Now, we take medicines and hold still for a needle shot into his leg.

Once, we’d drive by the park and he’d ask, “Have I been to this park before? Can we go again?” Now, we drive by the cemetery and he asks “Is this where my friend is buried and will you put me here someday too?”

Once, I held him in the delivery room and swore no harm would come to him. Now, I hold him in hospital rooms and promise him the pain is necessary.

Once, each new day was full of endless possibilities. Now, we wake to the knowledge that we’re out of curative options and the choice to make each new day about all the blessings.

Once, I might have missed the beauty in the ordinary, and once, I might have bypassed the moment for an extra hug or kiss, but now? Never now.

Once, time was a concept. Now, it’s a precious commodity to make the most of in joy and grace.

How do I know this?

Because I’m a cancer mom.

Kids like Chase deserve to live cancer free. You can help today by donating.