You know you are a cancer parent when:

As you probably guessed from my long silence I am off-ish.  Not my usual best.  So I am going to make an appointment with the social worker and sort myself out.

Until then I leave you with these pearls of wisdom from Lauren Beets, another oncomom.  She got it from someone else and then all the oncomoms added their own bits.  My contribution is no 81.

If you don’t get it, be grateful.  You are not an onco-parent.  Count your blessings.

1. You carry a tube of Emla in your purse instead a tube of lipstick
2. Kids with hair look kind of strange to you
3. You can sleep anywhere, and anything that reclines more than 15 degrees looks “comfy”
4. Your spouse asks what that sexy perfume is, and it’s Betadine
5. You enjoy the drive at 3:00am to emergency because there aren’t any other cars on the freeway
6. You can name all the equipment used on ER
7. You can dx the patients on ER before the Docs do
8. You hear a truck backing up and you think the IV is beeping
9. You are so proud when your baby finally gets hair (and he is 8)!
10. Your new bathroom trash can has “Hazardous Waste” written on it (recycled sharps container)
11. You can maneuver a double pole with six boxes and a kid riding, on a tour of the hospital, and make it back to the room before the low-battery alarm sounds and the kid has to pee
12. The nurses stop responding to the IV alarm, knowing you’ll fix it anyway
13. Your 2-year-old knows where all of the medical equipment goes, and how to use it
14. Your child’s first word is a medical term
15. You keep a bag packed at all times like you are 9 1/2 months pregnant
16. You can eat with one hand while you hold the barf bucket with the other
17. Your child’s bedroom looks like a Toys R Us® store
18. You ask your CPA if bribe toys are tax deductible
19. You correct the doctors spelling on the chemo meds
20. You can read the doctors prescription word for word, and are asked to decipher it by the pharmacist
21. You know medical terminology better than your family practitioner
22. There are 4 new Mercedes in the doctors’ parking lot due to your child’s payments
23. The pharmacy sends your family Christmas presents
24. You get excited when there is a 15% off sale at the pharmacy
25. The local needle program comes to your door
26. You have a syringe in your purse and you’re not a diabetic
27. You have more meds in your cupboard than food
28. You can read your son’s chart better than his nurse
29. You and your hubby get matching stress tattoos for fun
30. You start teaching your daughter the parts of her body, and you point to her chest, and she says that’s her port
31. None of the security guards on the pediatric floor ask for your ID anymore, and you’re on first-name basis with the operating room staff
32. Medical students ask to borrow your notes
33. Your toddler refuses to sit on Santa’s lap because he’s too germy from all the other kids
34. You wrap presents and packages with medical tape
35. Your main source of nutrition comes from aspirin
36. Your child is more familiar with CT scan & bone scan pictures than the portrait studio!!!
37. When you use the term six-pack, you are talking about platelets, not Budweiser®
38. Your child is going on a field trip and wants to know if you have signed his “remission” slip
39. Your child can easily pronounce “Neuroblastoma,” “chemotherapy” and “coagulate,” but has trouble pronouncing the state you live in
40. Your child uses Legos® to build “MRI” machines
41. You don’t have to ask, “What’s that mean” to the previous 40 items
42. You know you are the friend of a family with a child with cancer when you call to check the chemo schedule and ask, “How will her counts be on, say, the 11th?” before you schedule a birthday party
43. You have been asked by more than 25 friends and family members, “So, when is his next treatment?”
44. Your four year old’s critique of the medical student’s examination skills is the same as the supervising physician’s
45. A younger sibling identifies a nipple as “my port site”
46. You really think this list is funny, when most normal people either don’t get it or start to cry!
47. You give out barf buckets as birthday party favors
48. When a Radio Flyer® wagon is considered an essential transportation device
49. When you walk down the hall in your house holding your baby and feel odd because you’re not trailing an IV pole with the other hand
50. When the siblings want to know what the child’s counts are to see if they can go inside and eat at McDonald’s
51. You think nothing of taking your 3 year old into a department store in his underwear because he has thrown up on his last set of clothes and you are an hour away from home and have an important doctor’s appointment
52. Six months after treatment ends and the hair starts to grow back someone stops you in the grocery store and says, “I just love her haircut. Where did you get it done ?”
53. When you send copies of this list to all your cancer-parent friends
54. When your idea of funny is to ask, “Where’s your line?” and then giggle while your toddler takes off all of her clothes looking for it—even though you know it has just been removed
55. You can reset the IV machines overnight, in your sleep, every 30 minutes without waking up once and still call it a good nights sleep!!!
56. You have a kid who did not wake up by 5 AM on Christmas morning
57. Your kid takes more pills than you
58. When your kid asks for a Happy Meal® you don’t say, “Wait until we get home to eat.” Rather, “Really?” (unless of course your kid is on prednisone, when you say, “A Happy Meal or a Super-Sized Value Meal?”)
59. Your best friend buys you a relaxation tape for your birthday and you swear it doesn’t work right
60. You cannot try aroma therapy for yourself because the smells trigger nausea in your kid
61. Your kid wears out a pair of Nikes® pushing an IV pole around the hospital during BMT recovery
62. The “CK” on your tee shirt stands for Chemo Kid, not Calvin Klein®
63. You make Jell-O® with Pedialite®
64. You draw smiley-faces on your isolation masks
65. Your kid has received enough get-well cards to fuel a small bon-fire
66. When you are thankful for steroids because there will not be turkey leftovers after the Thanksgiving meal
67. Every little thing can make you cry in a heartbeat, but this list, on the other hand, has you rolling on the floor!
68. When your child is ecstatic because all she’s getting is counts from her arm and a shot in her leg (Now that’s a good day on the chemo ward!)
69. You can tell the nurses where their supplies are
70. When you can whip up a seven-course meal in minutes for a six-year old having a prednisone pig out
71. When your child tackles you screaming, “I’m starving to death! Why won’t you feed me?!” in public and you can laugh instead of scolding them for their manners
72. You can make a variety of arts and crafts out of hospital supplies: isolation masks become turtles and spinal fluid tubes filled with glitter and baby oil make great key chains
73. When the doctor finally enters the examination room and finds you and your child with latex glove powder around your mouth from blowing up the gloves
74. The nurses and techs call out, “see you next week!” with true joy knowing that you will pass on all the get-well candy (“No way I can eat that, I’ll throw up!”) and the leftover “bribe-sicles” that you couldn’t get her to eat
75. When it’s time for your 2 year to have her vital signs taken and she lifts her arm and sticks out her leg, without crying or fighting you
76. Your child names pills after superheros
77. When you are helping your daughter, the sibling, pull her hair into a ponytail and she says, “Look at my forehead, I have great veins there don’t I? If I ever need to get a shot, I could get it there!”
78. When you have a collection of “throw-up buckets” in every room of your house!
79. At dinner your, one son refers to ketchup as blood and the son with ALL corrects him because blood is a darker red.
80. The local small town emergency room calls you at home and asks what size huber needles to stock in case they have to access your child’s port and then ask if you could inservice them.
81. Someone asks you how you are doing. You put down the full barf bag to start cleaning up the diarrhoea and says: “We are doing very well!” And then you spend the next hour wondering why they looked at you strangely.
82. When someone stops you in the hospital corridor for hospitalization between treatments asking: “Is this little poor thing sick?”
You respond without realizing how weird you sound when they look at the little baldy: “Yes, he’s got a terrible flu…”
83. When the hospital does you a favour to let the sib “sleep out” on the bed next to her brother on a silent weekend and she says: ” Now this is fun!”
84. When shopping you see plastic ziplock bags and think: “Ahh, this will make ideal traveling barf bags!” You can even write a name on it…


4 Responses

  1. aw buddy.
    hang in there – sounds like you still have your sense of humour.

    give kids a kiss from us

    lots of love
    kerrie and andrew

  2. This is actually sad! :(…

  3. Dink steeds aan julle! Sterkte!

  4. Groot, groot, vet drukkie uit Windhoek. Hang in there, soos die tong vir die mangel gesê het.

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