This entry was written by Lisa Marsella. Lisa will be attending LBBC’s Annual Conference for Women Living With Metastatic Breast Cancer. For more information about 2-day conference, visit LBBC’s website today. Fee waivers and travel grants are still available!
Being a parent gives us the opportunity to teach and mentor our children. We teach them our values, morals, beliefs, and of course, the difference between right and wrong. In addition to the basics; we teach them how to read, ride a bike, tie their shoes and oh-so-many more things. During their formative years, our children pick up other subtle things from our mannerisms, sense of humor and so much more. But the funny thing is as our children grow we realize that we are also learning from them; just as easily as they are learning from us.
Never have I found more truth to that statement then when I was faced with a diagnosis of Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. During this time my children have shown me how they’ve grown. This was my chance to take a look at my parenting skills as well as my coping skills. My daughter Lisa Marie, who is now 26, has taught me to have grace under pressure. Her calm, cool and collected demeanor is astonishing to me. She tackles every horrible situation this cancer presents with a smile, and she balances everything with so much grit and determination. The fact that she may have learned these skills from me is mindboggling. Generally, I am the loon in the crowd screaming “the sky is falling, the sky is falling!”
My 18-year-old son, Rocco, on the other hand has taught me how to laugh and see the humor in every bad situation. When I’m feeling uncomfortable or I find myself in an unpleasant situation, he dazzles me with his enormous smile. My son turns on his charm and his wit and I am calm again. He makes me feel that we will all be okay again. Me on the other hand, I tend to sit and stew when I am angry or upset, with a scowl and no smile. Wow, I think “did they get these qualities from me? Have I taught them this?” I guess they’ve learned about loyalty, compassion, strength and charm somehow!
I can see firsthand now how my cancer has transformed the dynamic of my family. Some amazing things have happened despite the ugly nature of this horrific disease. Even my husband, Robert, who is normally very rigid has lightened up a little, I say little because I mean a LITTLE. He is still uptight, and grumpy, but that is what makes him so endearing to those of us who love him. But he is still learning; my cancer has made him more accommodating and less apprehensive to try new things.
Where my children have taken on the role of protector and sympathizer – my hubby can maintain his role as partner and companion. Our family has learned new ways to deal with and cope with my cancer; but more significantly we have all learned how to incorporate it into our daily lives. We actually have come to realize that life is a series of events and each event gives us the opportunity to learn and grow. But most importantly, it provides us with memories; we tell ourselves that we are simply making memories – memories that will last a lifetime no matter how long or short that may be.
I truly love my family and I want to thank them for everything they are to me. We are all still learning from each other; child from parent and parent from child. Watching my children grow and my family evolve is an amazing gift; one I cherish more with each passing day. Breast cancer has taken so much away from us; but it has also given us back to each other in so many wonderful ways.
How has your family made your breast cancer journey a learning experience? Comment here or on our Facebook page.