This guest blog post by Melanie Bimson is a co-founder of Momcology, Ultimate Hiker 2012, and mom to Piper and Pierce. Pierce has been a survivor since 2008.
When you have a child, you prepare for a lot of different things. Preparing for a childhood cancer diagnosis isn’t typically one of them. When we were thrust into that world, our son was just 18-months-old, we were lost.
There are a lot of different routes that you can go when you hear your child has cancer. Some people choose to read anything and everything they can get their hands on, others worry constantly, some become angry. I chose to live our lives as we had, but be vigilant, and to enjoy life as much as we could. Also, I didn’t read anything about cancer. Statistics don’t matter when you are watching your child fight for their life.
Our family, like so many, went through huge changes – we went from cereal and goldfish to chemo and steroids. We had appointment after appointment, and endured scares where we almost lost our son. Through it all, I stopped spending time with friends. As kind and as concerned as they were, it became awkward. No one wanted to complain about their child having a rough night of sleep when they had just watched my bald toddler vomit in the corner.
Eventually, I shut down. It wasn’t until I met Kim Buff, a fellow cancer mom, that I realized I had a whole world of new friends that understood my feelings. Kim was the first friend who never said, “I can’t imagine” – because she could.
Over the first year of our friendship, Kim and I took a Facebook group she had started and turned it into Momcology, a grassroots movement that connects cancer mothers and primary caregivers. Our one little group has grown to more than 35 groups. We have diagnosis groups, regional groups, and specialty groups – even a group for dads. All of our members are immediately connected through a shared experience, and we are collaborating as a community of caretakers to change the way the childhood cancer journey feels. Whether in the hospital, or in a remote location in the middle of the night, there is always someone logged on to guide mothers through the huge celebrations and the impossible moments that are part of being a mother of a child with cancer. We communicate about everything – chemo, protocols, advocacy, awareness, schools, and we supply many virtual hugs from hearts that bear the same scars left by childhood cancer. Our goal is simple: No one fights alone…ever! This is how I (and the Momcology Community) GO MOM on cancer.
In the world of pediatric oncology, it is often the mothers who find themselves deep in the trenches of awareness, fundraising, and fighting for a cure. We usually do this as we are simultaneously caring for our child. We believe it will be the mothers who will ultimately push a final cure through the finish line, because quite simply; the stakes aren’t higher for anyone else.
To learn more about Momcology, please visit www.momcology.org.