March 02, 2023

Parental Low Down and Stupid Cancer Show


Wake Up Call

I call my mom in the middle of the night when I cannot sleep. She is always there to answer no matter how groggy she is or how early she needs to drag herself out of bed the next morning. We’ve always loved each other but were not always close like this, especially when I was younger and got caught stealing make-up from G.C. Murphey’s drug store on the day of my Sunday school confirmation. Or when I dropped out of Columbia University to study with modern dance choreographers around the country.

So what has changed? Is it that I’m less bratty now that I’ve gotten my teenage and early twenties angst out of my system? Is it that she is more laid back now that I’ve matured? Or did my young adult cancer diagnosis bring us closer together? During surgery and treatment, she spent weeks in my shabby (not so chic) studio apartment, crashed out on a futon on the floor. And while we are closer now than ever before, there are still parts of my cancer experience that we have a hard time talking about. Only recently did she confess to me some of her challenges in taking care of me during that time.

Chime In

I’ll be blogging more about cancer and our parents in the next couple of weeks. But for starters listen and call in tonight to the Stupid Cancer Show, (347) 215-6845, at 9 PM EST when Matthew Zachary and I will be talking with Pat Taylor, digging up the inside scoop on being the mom of a young adult with cancer. Pat made a documentary film about young adult cancer, called Chasing Rainbows. Check it out here.

Has cancer changed your relationship to your mom, dad, or other close family member? What issues/questions would you like to see discussed about this in upcoming blogs? Maybe I’ll bring my mom on as a guest expert!

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  1. Sarah Conley Says:
    March 7th, 2009 at 9:56 PM

    This is such an interesting issue. Lately I’ve thought more about the caregivers that were around me when I was sick and what their experience must have been like. It was definitely so difficult walking the tightrope between childhood and adulthood while managing a critical illness. At 23, I so wanted to take control of the cancer and my future. Yet the little girl inside of me desperately needed her mom and needed to be cared for…just like she did when she had strep throat or the flu. We really had to work hard at finding the right boundaries and respecting each other. I had to respect her need to take care of me and she had to honor my need for independence.

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