Welcome to the first week of My Mountain; a series of guest posts about the biggest challenges we face as parents. I’ve been overwhelmed by the positive response to my request and can’t wait to get started! Our first guest blogger is mum and author Elizabeth Gross. I can’t thank her enough for sharing her powerful story with us.
“You have cancer”. Those words changed my life. After I heard them all I could think was, “My daughter’s only 8”. It just overwhelmed me. “How many dreams would I be able to help her make come true?” (Excerpt from the book, ‘Dream Accomplished: A Story of Cancer, A Mother’s Love & Taylor Swift)
As a parent, hearing the word ‘cancer’, struck fear right into my heart. My first thoughts were of our daughter, Page. “She’s too young”, I thought. “I can’t leave her now. She has her whole life to look forward to. How many dreams would I be able to help her make come true?”. Take a minute now and close your eyes, hear those three words. Say them to yourself simply, and slowly; You have cancer. How do you feel? What matters most to you? What do you do now?
I’ve lived those words, and I know the struggle that they impart. I also know that those words don’t mean your life is over. Yes, they’re life changing, but let them change your life for the better! They did for me. They started my family on an adventure of a lifetime, and my best advice to you as you navigate this new challenge in your life, is to listen to your heart.
Know that even though everything is changing, you are still you. Listen to your instincts and focus on what matters most to you. Yes, it’s a very scary, stressful, expensive, painful, emotional, and challenging time. Roles change, priorities change, fear permeates everything and everyone involved. It will be very difficult to focus, but it is possible.
Write down a goal, and everyday work towards it. Even if some days, or lots of days, you’re only able to move forward on your goal by the tiniest of steps possible, focus on it and the positive things in your life. It will help you heal, and from my experience, it makes all the difference.
Right away I knew my goal, I just didn’t know to call it that. You know yours, too. It’s that first thought you had after hearing your news. Hold tight to it through all the oncoming changes and difficult days. Stay strong and positive. And when you complete that first one, get started on another.
My first goal was to help my daughter make a dream come true. I wrote it down. I focused on it. My daughter and I snuggled, and giggled and enjoyed our time together. Yes, we had awful days. Yes, I was, and am, sometimes so, so sick. Yes, it took a long time, and I thought at times it was impossible. But our family stuck together, held each other together by focusing on something good. And not only did we accomplish Page’s dream, we realized that even ill, even in our darkest hour, we could still accomplish anything! We realized every day, no matter how hard or awful it is, it’s still special because we’re together. That realization is the biggest gift we could have been given. We recognize now that life is not guaranteed. I’d lost that thought in the daily flow of life. Tomorrow I’ll get to this or that. But what if there is no tomorrow? I’d never really thought of that until I was faced with that realization. I’ll never take that for granted again.
I hope my experience is a help to you through the very difficult parenting challenge of navigating a cancer journey. Listen to your heart. Have a goal. Keep your priorities in focus. Work your goal and enjoy your family time together. Keep dreaming impossible dreams, because you, too, even with cancer, can still reach them. You can still say, just as we do, “Dream Accomplished”. *
“You have cancer” is an article based off Elizabeth’s awardwinning book, ‘Dream Accomplished: A Story of Cancer, A Mother’s Love & Taylor Swift’. Written as a thank you to her daughter’s hero, this book also helps and inspires others as they, too, fight their own cancer or invisible illness battle. Paying forward the kindness Taylor has shown Elizabeth’s family, all profits are donated to help others by funding an assortment of cancer and invisible illness research and support causes. For more information please visit www.dreamaccomplished.com.
You can follow Elizabeth on Twitter and buy your copy of Dream Accomplished here.
*If you would like to contribute to the My Mountain series with a piece about your biggest parenting challenge please email email@example.com*
40 comments on ““You have cancer” – Guest Post By Elizabeth Gross”
Oh goodness. This is so moving. I think my first though would definitely be of my children, of leaving them. You are so brave and strong for staying so positive and sharing your experience. Thanks for including this piece too. #KCACOLS
Agreed. I couldn’t wait to share Elizabeth’s amazing story.
Hi ‘Someone’s Mum’ 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to respond to Laura & myself about this “You have Cancer” guest post. I appreciate your kind words! Hope you and yours have a good day -e (@ourtaylorstory)
You’re so brave sharing this. I had a tear in my eye as I was reading it. It really hits home that every day with loved ones is precious.
I agree. So pleased Elizabeth shared on here x
Thank you DotMakes4. So glad to hear you, and others, agree 🙂 Every moment spent with those we love, is really all that matters. Wishing you & yours a good day -e (@ourtaylorstory)
This is so moving and touching. I can’t even imagine what this must feel like. #KCACOLS
Isn’t it? Elizabeth is one strong lady x
Hi ‘The Speed Bump’ 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I appreciate your kind words -e 🙂 (@ourtaylorstory)
My first thought would definitely be the children too, and not seeing them grow up. What an inspiring postx #sundaystars
It’s wonderful, isn’t it? Touched that Elizabeth has shared it with us. Thanks for reading x
Thank you crummymummy1 🙂 -e (@ourtaylorstory)
This is such a moving and thought-provoking post. I had a scare recently which turned out OK, but I felt so utterly terrified just thinking about the ‘what-ifs’ while waiting for results. I can’t imagine how to begin to cope if the news is not good. Thank you so much for sharing ❤️❤️ #KCACOLS
Thanks for commenting. I’m so pleased Elizabeth is sharing her experience x
Thank you ‘Hopes, Dreams & Chocolate’ 🙂 Glad to hear you are doing well! I send you good thoughts for more good days -e 🙂 (@ourtaylorstory)
I can completely relate to this post as someone who is currently living with and fighting thyroid cancer. It is extremely scary and life changing. I too wrote a post about my experience so far. It’s so important for people to know they are not alone. All the best to Elizabeth! #KCACOLS
Thanks so much for commenting and sharing your own situation. I wish you all the best xxx
Nsalama1 thank you for sharing. Where can we read about your story? Happy to RT it. Perhaps it, too, can help someone battling today. Take care -e 🙂 (@ourtaylorstory)
Hi Elizabeth I just started blogging at The Professional Mom Project. My post about being diagnosed with cancer can be found here: http://theprofessionalmomproject.com/being-diagnosed-with-thyroid-cancer/ I hope that my story can help someone in a similar situation. All the best to you.
Such a powerful, moving and inspirational piece of writing. I am humbled by the courage and positivity in these words. Thank you for sharing and I hope it brings strength and comfort to the many people hearing these words every single day.
I couldn’t agree more, it’s beautiful. I’m so grateful to Elizabeth for sharing with us. Thanks for commenting x
Thank you Dawn for taking the time to share your kind thoughts. I appreciate them -e 🙂 (@ourtaylorstory)
Such a touching, moving post it’s so easy to take the little things in life for granted. It’s lovely to see people using their own experiences so help others it really is. Thankyou for sharing with us on #sundaystars x
Thanks for reading x
You’re welcome Everything Mummy 🙂 It makes me happy to know my story is helping another. Wishing you a good day -e 🙂 (@ourtaylorstory)
I can’t imagine what you have been going through but what an inspiring post you have written on the back of experience. #MarvMonday
So inspiring. Thanks for commenting x
Thank you Coombe Mill. My story just poured out of my heart. Perhaps my journey was so I could be of help to others. I hope so. -e 🙂 (@ourtaylorstory)
I feel the same way! I feel like finding a purpose in our tragedy helps us to process, heal (emotionally) and move forward. What a beautiful, brave thing you are doing, sharing your story.
My first thoughts would be my daughter too. So scary but this post is so inspiring! xx #marvmondays
Isn’t it? Elizabeth is fantastic.
Thank you Sarah 🙂 -e (@ourtaylorstory)
What a strong lady, I think those are the words we all dread hearing, especially when we have children. Our own hopes and dreams become theirs and we can’t imagine having to ever leave them. Beautiful lady. Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays! Kaye xo
Thank you Kaye for taking the time to respond to my “You have cancer” post. I so appreciate your kind support. -e 🙂
Oh what a moving post. It was very interesting to read Elizabeth’s story. My auntie had cancer and it was the first time someone so close got it so we kind of experienced this. She had awful moments and great moments. It is a constant battle. She won the battle but she always has to get check to see if it hasn’t come back. I really don’t know how will I react if I’m told I have it. You are a brave woman! Great series. Thanks so much for sharing Elizabeth’s story at #KCACOLS. I would love to see you again on Sunday! 🙂 x
Thank you for sharing about your family story, and taking the time to write such nice words about my article. I hope you have a good day -e 🙂
Thanks for sharing, lovely, and for reading x
Thank you for your very well written and thought out article. My son is 14 and I’ve been sick his whole life. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago I found out he was hiding anger and resentment towards me because he thought I was just lazy. He didn’t understand why I wasn’t “there for him” as much as his Dad. I will share your article with him tonight. Take care and be well.