Hi, I prefer not to reveal my name so just call me by my nick name SImba (I'm a girl) and I am 14 years old. Forgive me for my post being a bit all over the place, it's the first time I've written on here. Prepare yourself, this is going to be a very long post and a very depressing one.
I will start at the beginning:
At the age of 5 my mum was diagnosed with Leukemia, I can't remember what kind (I don't like to remember what kind) and she had chemotherapy, she lost her hair, she lost her strength, she lost her beautiful blonde hair. It broke my heart to see my mum like this, she looked frail, pale, lost. I cried. Everyday.
While most kids where playing in the sand pit making mud pies, I was crying at the back of the playground. Nobody supported me. Everyday after school I was put into daycare, my dad wasn't exactly a fly-in fly-out but it was a job that made him spend weeks away from mum and I. I cried every time he left, he cried every time he left. So, just mum and I all buy ourselves. Where we lived meant that there was no other family in a 5 hour radius. I had friends but can you really imagine any other 5 year old supporting another 5 year old about there mum having cancer, they didn't even know what it meant. You can hardly talk to your own mum about hard it is to cope about her being sick. It just makes them worse.
I haven't properly forgiven my family for forcing me to be an adult and leaving me in the deep end with no support at the age of 5, but who would when it has emotionally scared you for life. Sometimes, I find myself treating my family members like crap, yelling at them when we aren't arguing, I'm just letting out the anger. None of them know they have even hurt me.
My mum beat cancer, but the story doesn't end here, it just gets worse as I continue. After or during this time (my memories a little fuzzy from my 5-6 year old self, you forget stuff, you want to forget stuff.) we moved 5 hours away from my favorite place in the world. I don't know why it is, (it is where mum found out she got cancer after all)it just feels like home whenever i go there for some reason. Mum feels that way too, Dad doesn't though. My mum and dad love each other a lot but they are very, very different people with very, very different ideas of what happiness is.
We got a puppy around the end of year 1, my first year in the city. We got her from the RSPCA, her name is Gypsy a Malamute cross Kelpie. I love her like I would a sister even though I don't have any.
For a couple of years mum was doing ok, a couple of hiccups here and there but thats normal for leukemia patients sometimes with the white and red blood count. Grandma also lives with cancer, she has for a long time but it's a kind of one you watch sorta like how you watch your cholesterol. Don't ask me which one because I don not know. My mums side of the family is riddled genetically with cancer and dads side have had some problems too so I've have gotten slightly used to the fact that there is a large chance I will get it too.
By the end of year 4 (i was about 9) mum and dad decided they wanted a lifestyle change so we moved from a city to a town and for a while it was ok, dad had a long drive to work but no long stays away from us. It was about half way through that mum had noticed that something was wrong with her body, she was getting numb, pins and needles, all sorts of stuff. After consulting her doctor and having various tests revealed that she had MS or Multiple Sclerosis which was caused by the cancer (I don't know how exactly).
We were unsure of how this was going to affect mum so we decided to move back to the city after only been living in this town for 8 months. Just when it seemed I was starting to settle down with good friends and grades my life spiraled out of control again. In the months leading up to moving I felt just like I did when mum had cancer. I was so sad I refused to go to school for a long time or would only go for 2 days a week. I would just spend everyday crying. I was scared of crying in front of classmates. I was already shy with some minor anxiety problems but this just ruined my self confidence and ability to function normally. Everything just felt like a massive effort. I was worried I was going to lose my mum, just like I did the time before.
We moved between the last days of term 4 and where in a rental property for Christmas time. It was good to be where most of my family was. They still didn't support me but sometimes just having them there for once can be enough. I have the next month to calm my depression and anxiety and prepare myself for yet another school. Going back to school was hard, I would always worry about mum.
Halfway through year 6 we found out that mum was pregnant. This was finally going to be my chance of having a sibling besides my dog! I planned out what it was going to be like, I even moved bedrooms so that the baby could be closer to mum and dad. About 12 weeks in mum had a miscarriage, that was the longest night of my life. Not only was I concerned for the baby, I was concerned for what this would do to mums health, physical and mental health. My mum has really bad depression, it runs it the family.
So, for the third time in my life was heart was broken, all because of cancer. The baby's egg had damaged cells from the cancer treatment. My life was shattered, it felt like the end of the world. What had made it worse is that dad didn't want the baby in the first place. He freaked out for a while and nearly left us, another thing I will never forgive him for. He thought he was too old to be a father (he was about 43-44 then) which none of us thought he was. He was selfish and never thought about how this was affecting mum and I, but he has always been like that.
I didn't go to school much for the rest of the year, I didn't leave the house that often, my school was across the road which made it harder. Dad was so angry I wasn't going to school which would make mum and dad fight a bit. Mum felt it ok, she said I needed time to grieve but as usual dad didn't understand. Dad doesn't understand depression, he even had a physiologist explain it, that didn't work.
It made things even worse when my teacher blurted out to the whole class what had happened to my mum and said out loud 'Why hasn't she gotten over it yet?' My teacher was just dealing with the death of her mother but that still isn't acceptable. I felt so embarrassed to return to school, I was so worried about what people might think about me. Look at me like a broken girl but that's what I am.
After this heart break came year 7 which was actually one of the best years of my life. There were family rows but no ones perfect. There was only the one time in Sex Ed class where all the kids were so interested in abortions and miscarriages, it brought back bad feelings for a while. I was ok after a while though, I just asked to leave class for a while, sit with the other people who were not participating. Mum also had a couple of MS attacks but by now we had learnt to manage them over the past two years and mums pain threshold , as you can imagine is pretty strong.
Year 8 the first year of high school, 2013, the worst year of my life. Mum was diagnosed with Lupus, her Crones became active (she had it in her late teens and after that had remained dormant for the rest of the time until now) she had many MS attacks. She also had a minor metal breakdown infront of me from stress form sickness which dad would not support her with leaving me to craddle my 45 year old mother sobbing on my shoulder. She also had cancer taken out of stomach and bowel which went smoothly but stressfuly. I hate seeing my mum sedated for an operation, she forgets who I am sometimes when under drugs.
I have to help mum with a lot of things as she is now hypo-allergenic and any cleaning or hair products cause rashes. She is an account and even with everything she manages to do her job mostly full-time. Dad thinks I have nothing to stress about, he also thinks I am lazy even though I cook and clean 70% of the time.
I cried almost everyday that year because of family problems but the main problem is always mum and I don't like saying that it's cancer thats the problem. My mum sees me cry, I try to hide it but it's hard especially when dad doesn't support me. He hates seeing things he can't fix for us so he just ignores it. In trem 4 i started counseling sessions with the school phyc but on the worst day of my life (due to many complications of family and school), she canceled on me. That was the day I first self harmed, no one knows besides two of my closest friends. My dog also developed epilepsy, she was the only thing in my life that had always stayed happy and healthy now to see her spasm on the floor.
Mum would probably kill herself if she found out I did it, she thinks all of my hurt is because of her but it's not her fault, it's cancers fault. But who do you yell at when cancer makes you depressed or makes your mum unable to clean the dishes? Where does your anger go? It goes to everyone around you and I can't help but blame my mum sometimes getting angry at her for no reason. Just making her feel worse.
Cancer has ruined my mums life, her lifespan had been shortened nearly 20 years because of all the diseases cancer had caused and cancer it's self. Her life will never be pain free because even when the cancer she currently has now (chronic leukemia) is gone, she will still have the pain that Australia's hot summers bring causing MS attacks and her hypo allergenic skin and the past steroid treatment that made her larger than before and her beautiful blonde hair now nearly black, her tanned skin now pale white or red covered in rashes. The scars and the on going pain my mum will have for the rest of her life.
My mum is so strong but so broken and now so am I. I can never forget seeing my mum breakdown or my dad leave for a week to support us. I can't forget the sibling I could of had or a time when my mum didn't have some kind of illness. I can't remember a time when my family supported me or asked me how i was before asking me how mum was. Nobody focuses on me, even though I am more hurt and broken than ever before to point of hurting myself. They don't notice. Mum is always more important and it makes me SO angry even though I don't want to be. Even when mum gets rid of this batch of cancer the scars that it left on her have scared me for life and I'm not even the sick one.
I told you it would be a long and depressing read. I have had enough of negative things happen in my life to equal that of a 100 year old and I am 14. I was never truly a kid and I have never truly been happy. I am strong but don't how long I can handle this for. Cancer has ruined me and I don't even have it. No one I know really understands how I feel but I thought someone here might, I just feel so alone like there is no one here, for me.
Welcome to Cancer Connections and thank you for taking the time to share you and your family’s experiences and challenges with the community.
We understand how important it is for you to be supported and recommend that you contact our colleagues at Canteen (www.canteen.org.au) who offer a range of support options across Australia for people aged 12-24 affected by cancer.
Canteen have a counselling service especially for young people - you can contact them on 1800 226 833 or visit http://www.canteen.org.au/how-we-help/counselling/
Canteen’s Now What website also has lots of information, blog topics and stories that may be of interest and benefit to you - www.nowwhat.org.au
Cancer Connections Coordinator
I read your post so very sad, no one should endure what your Mum is going through with her various illnesses tragic, she is a strong woman to have endured so much , you also are strong to have supported Mum her during these periods.
Simba you are a very young person to be living with all the pain that life has brought to you so far, but do not despair, help and support can be found, the sites Felix has highlighted are there with trained people who care and are waiting for you to contact them.
PS my dogs help me at various times when I an unwell or down as well.
Thankyou Felix and kj, sometimes writing out my story is a way of trying to let go of some of the things in the past (as hard as that might be). Knowing that this is a place where people with the same or similar situation as me. It's hard to be happy sometimes but knowing that you guys on here are there for me is a good feeling and I'm there for anyone else too.
Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.