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Looking others with weddings, babies, other happy events...


nandie

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Hello all. I'm a chronic lurker who's gotten great information from your stories and advice. Thank you so much for being here.

My mom has lung cancer (stage IV) and as you all know, it's quite a rollercoaster ride with the different treatments. I live out of state and have been going back to visit once every 6-8 weeks. I find it hard to figure out what's really going on unless I'm there.

On hand two, I'm planning my wedding. Some days I'm happy to be doing it and others I alternate between having an anxiety attack and sobbing. Normal for a bride-to-be, right? I probably wouldn't bother with this at all, especially right now, but it's my mom who really wants me to have a nice wedding.

Anyway, I'm wondering if anyone else is planning a wedding, having a baby, or engaging in other happy events while an immediate family member is fighting lung cancer. I'd love to read your story, hear your advice, or share experiences with you.

Thank you.

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Nandie,

My wedding was six months before diagnosis...sure did throw some stress into the relationship but we seem to be doing okay...

BUT, my life right now (get out the ol' score card, here goes):

Building a new house, delayed by inept contractor (You're FIRED!), finally back on track, but it still takes time.

My family of three is living with my parents right now (two women in the same house, oy).

Job stress - downsizing and dealing with a boss who...well, ain't my best friend and one that's pretty decent...now I deal with the more honest one only..

New puppy - like a baby, no sleep.

Blended family issues: ex-wife from hell who just won't go away, ex-husband who can't seem to show up for his son, and then there's the steps:

#1 son and girlfriend have two babies - 9.5 months apart. Older one will be one in October, younger one is about a month old.

#1 daughter - getting married in October

#2 daughter - 1.5 month old baby, getting married in January

#2 son - oh, where to begin...

One thing to remember is that life will ALWAYS have stress and the stress doesn't go away when someone gets a cancer diagnosis. Like riding a merry-go-round, find something to focus on when it all seems a blur. Put your energy into organizing the wedding and all the other day-to-day stuff that screams to be done (I can ignore dusting...really).

Another suggestion: if you feel overwhelmed A LOT, get counseling. I see a counselor once every three weeks and on doctor's orders will be seeing the counselor more often. This helps to alleviate some of the stress, to have someone telling you that considering what you're going through, you are holding together amazingly well - or not. BE SURE you stay in contact with your general practioner on your mental status, you may need anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medication. Your doctor is a good judge of where you are.

Remember to take time for yourself, to tell yourself that no matter how horrible you feel at one particular moment, tomorrow is yet another day...

Hang in there, it's a bumpy ride...but you've found a great place for support.

Welcome to the family,

Becky

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Nandie,

I wish I was having a baby right now :) But I can help on the wedding thing.

We became engaged in August 2003. I said to Brian something bad is going to happen, I am too happy. November 2003 my mom finally gets a chest xray for the tiniest of coughs. Yup, Lung Cancer. By that time our Feb 2004 wedding was already paid for, dress picked, flowers done, music done, photographer done, video, etc.

I did not know my mom's prognosis in Nov, so on the suggestion of my mother in law, we got married the following week in a private casual ceremony. However, we still went forward with the Feb wedding. I didn't really want the wedding oftentimes. I was like who the heck cares about a wedding and a big party when my mom is fighting cancer.

I wanted to punch brides who got all stressed out over linen vs cloth or little small issues. Even now when people get married and I hear 'oh how stressful, i need to do this or that', I am like who cares, it is GOOD stuff :)

My weddign was Feb 22, my mom had finished chemo and surgeon appt was on Feb 23 to decide if she could have surgery. All I wanted to know was if she could have surgery, it was so hard. I was very over protective and had insert mades for my wedding program which said something along the lines of the bride's mother is batttling lung cancer, don't get insulted that she cannot shake hands or hug you, stand back or you will get punched. Well, it was classier than that, but that was teh gist ;)

I dedicated Wind Beneath Your Wings to my mom and we danced and there was not a dry eye in the house. It was really hard to have my wedding, but on the other hand, I wanted normalcy for my mom.

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I go to my councilor and tell here all my troubles, I ask her why I can't cope and she parrots it all back at me and asks me why I think any sane person should be able to cope with all of it. It puts it in perspective and at leasts makes me feel better that I am human and trying to cope with overwhelming things. It's not possible, so then I quit beating up on myself so much. If your a list maker, make a list each day, identify the must do's and fit the rest in as you can, cut yourself slack when it doesn't all get done. ALWAYS Remember there is room for happy in the sad.

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Nandie,

One more thing to add. I admittedly may be one of the most neurotic people in the world. Others here can back me up on that :) I am so close to my mom, I literally cried every day after her diagnosis and would not stop. She is in remission now and I still cry daily. I now think every day I have cancer with every ache and pain, just not normal.

When my mom got diagnosed, I was so distraught that when I got gas for my car, I drove away with the pump inside and ripped the hose off :shock: Pretty embarassing needless to say. I went to work afterwards and I told my boss I was not competent to do anything serious that day. It is like would you want an attorney who forgot to take the gas pump out????? I still am shocked at myself for being that dumb to this day.

With that said, I NEVER thought I could have a good day. Well, I was wrong. My wedding was wonderful!!!!! My mom was radiant and let me tell you, she held up better than me during the Horah and she was the one with the lung cancer :)

I am sure your wedding will be grand too!

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Yep Nandie, I got Andrea's back on winning the neurotic daughter award. I also remember that Roseanne's son moved his wedding up so his dad could attend. You can search her posts to read that story...and not too very long ago Hebbie got married. Trying to remember others but I am sure they will pop on..

All the very best wishes for a wonderful ceremony..

Rochelle

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hi nandie,

first off, congrats on your engagement! i know that it is difficult to balance out the happiness with the sadness, but this upcoming wedding is definitely reason to rejoice. my brother got married in march of this year, and he and his wife got engaged literally a few weeks before my mom's diagnosis, so it was hard for us all too. i think that having the wedding to look forward to really helped my mom out because she was determined to attend. not only did she attend, but she took part in the ceremony (the mothers lit a unity candle together after being escorted down the aisle), and she stood with my father at the church's exit to shake everyone's hand and thank them for coming (and there were 300+ guests so it was quite the feat!). what was really special was when my parents walked down the aisle after the ceremony, they got a standing ovation from the crowd. i was crying, but not because of my brother and my new sister-in-law, but for my mom. :lol: my mom even stayed for most of the reception, but as soon as she felt tired, i took her to my brother/sister-in-law's hotel suite so that she could have a quiet moment to rest. all in all, it was really a special day.

suggestions that i would give: you should talk to your mom's onco about her treatment schedule if she is receiving chemo. we talked with my mom's onco, and she received her chemo treatment almost three weeks prior to the wedding, right before her next treatment because she seemed to feel better by the third week. also, if you have someone (i.e. a sibling) who can be with her during the entire event, it would be helpful. i stayed by my mom's side so that my dad could greet people and also so that i could give my mom anything she needed (i.e. water...take a few bottles with you too so that you don't have to be searching around for water; ditto with a few snacks and your mom's medication if she has any).

remember that a wedding is not only a celebration for the couple, but for the entire family. so your happiness is truly an extension of your mom's happiness. and i know that planning a wedding under normal circumstances can be exhausting (who knew there were so many kinds of napkins?! :wink:), so take help where you can. my sister-in-law asked me to find the cake top (kim lawrence makes some really beautiful abstract ones that are not too expensive...do a general search under her name or enesco on yahoo/google), serving knife, and wine glasses. i found everything online and had them delivered (www.thingsremembered.com has some great wedding/reception stuff). so don't be afraid to ask for help. and definitely remember that no matter how much you plan your wedding, you'll feel like you haven't done enough 'til the day of the wedding. that's when you'll realize that all the small stuff doesn't really matter. you'll have a great and wonderful wedding regardless of the centerpieces and other "fluff" because it'll be a momentous day for you and your loved ones. that's all that matters in the end.

i wish you and your future husband a wealth of happiness and health. and i also send my heartfelt prayers to your mom and your family.

God bless you and your family,

mj

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I am a great believer in not putting off things, such as happy occasions like weddings. And especially if you have a family member with a life-threating disease. It will give your mom a happy family event to look forward to and experience, and it will do you all a world of good. Go for it, even with all the added stress and worry. Best to you all. Don

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Hi! My mom was diagnosed 7 months after I was married. Married in July 98, mom diagnosed Feb 99. That April we decided to start trying to get pregnant. There was such a sense of urgency to it. Such added pressure. It took us 10 months with 3 very early miscarriages to finally conceive. I was a complete basketcase for most of that time. My daughter was born in Oct of 2000 and my mom was there for the delivery. And she was there for the delivery of my son 2 years later. And now they are almost 2 and 4 and guess what? Mom's still here.

My point I guess is to plan your event. Try not to be too stressed. You will never know what's around the corner till you get there. Have fun with your planning!

Amy

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Hi, like Snowflake, I am the cancer patient. I was diagnosed shortly after my son started first grade. While we are not planning big things such as weddings, we have many happy events (major events from my son's perspective) that we are always planning/celebrating such as halloween costumes, goodies for school, Christmas activities, birthdays, family vacations, winning games at soccer, etc. Yes, cancer brings stress to our lives (far too much and too early) but it only takes away our joys if we let it.

Here is my thought - I do not understand why I am on this path but I have been blessed with many gifts and a good life. Cancer can shorten my time on this earth but not how I spend it. While it is not perfect, I am enjoying my life with my family and friends and continue to do the things that I have always done.

Don't let the stress of cancer take away from the joys of your wedding preparations for both you and your Mom. It is a special time for both of you. Also, as others have suggested, if you find the stress of cancer to be too much - reach out to a counselor. I see one about every two - three weeks. She has been invaluable. It takes a lot a courage for me to get up everyday and live a normal life not overshadowed with fear and she helps me a great deal in doing so.

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding and enjoy!

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Nandie,

Glad to have you a board! Cancer takes a backseat to nobody. So, pleasant life distractions and normalcy are good. You try to live your live to the fullest. Cancer has taught me not to procrastinate, because you may not have a tomorrow. This emotional rollercoaster is just life, and I thank God for having life every day! Congratulations on the wedding

Both my parents had cancer, and I planned my wedding in 3 days! I did not want to stress my parents. I am not suggesting you do the same, but my mom would have overdone herself financially and emotionally. It was lovely though. We had an ampatheater of flowers and a gazebo in the back yard. You only get married once, but try to make it as stress free as possible on you both. Let mom do what she can, remind her she is not expected to be 100%. Please send us a picture if possible. It is so nice to hear of a happy event! Best wishes to you and your new Husband to be!

Cheryl

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I just called my fiance in to read all of your warm and heartfelt responses. He said "I can't believe everyone took so much time to respond--there's a lot of kindness there." I agree. Thank you so much for your insight. I will keep you posted on the wedding plans.

Nandie

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Nandie,

We lost Steve's father to lung cancer one month before our wedding. We talked with Steve's parents about postponing the wedding, but his father was adamant that the wedding should go on as planned. At our table sat a ceramic statute of Steve's dog, which his father made for him shortly before he died. I'm glad we went ahead because I think his father knew we were made for each other and it probably gave him comfort being able to know with whom it his youngest child would be spending his life. It does feel sad seeing our wedding pictures without him, but somehow I feel like he was there with us.

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The circle of life doesn't stop for cancer; not babies, not birthdays, not people in love getting married.

Enjoy your planning and your wedding. The happy coexists with the sad in so much of life, take the happiness when you find it.

It keeps cancer in perspective.

You live with cancer, but cancer isn't your life.

Best of luck to you two.

Prayers for all...

XOXOXOX

MaryAnn

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You'll find lots of stories on this board such as you ask for. We have patients here of all different ages, marital status, religions, and with all of us life has to go on and so does the good stuff.

We adopted our baby girl from China in Oct/Nov 2002 and in March 2003 my husband was diagnosed, but he was sick when we got back from China and never got well.

So we've been mixing the happiness of new parenthood with fighting the disease.

Don't reschedule or put off your wedding or anything - because even if a person in the family has cancer, you can't say that because they're diagnosed now that in 2 months or 6 months or even a year what they're capable of doing or celebrating. It's a real up and down process.

Hopefully you can stick with us and let us celebrate along with you!

Best wishes,

Karen C.

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I'd like to add my Congratulations on your engagement to the bunch!

I am the cancer patient and we certainly have had a wedding in the family since diagnoses -- MINE! :lol:

I was dating my husband for about a year when diagnosed. He was SO wonderful, taking me to all appointments, staying at the hospital with me during surgery and helping with my 5 year old. The weekend before I started chemo/radiation, he proposed......and this past January -- 6 months after ending treatment, we got married (on a cruiseship! :wink: )

We also have a new baby -- sort of -- we are puppy parents as of 3:00 this afternoon!

If there is one thing cancer has taught me it is that life is to short to just stop and tread water -- we have to enjoy every minute and celebrate living in every way possible!

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When my dad found out he had lung cancer it was not long after he learned three grandchildren were coming. Me , my sister and my sister-n-

law all became pregnet with in 2 1/2 months of each other. My dad was

so happy and it was great he got to be here for all of three births.

Congradulations on your engagement and best wishes. Haylee

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I got married in May 2003 after diagnosis in Feb of that year. I had had one 3 day session of chemo...wore my wig for the first time to the wedding. It was small...just family ....and one of the best days of my life. We had the wedding and then all 26 of us went to dinner. Let me know that life goes on and that ppl can still be "in love" after starting treatments for lung cancer. We had been living together and he was with me for every treatment...and slept by my bed in the hospital during my surgery. I knew he loved me for better or worse and it made me so happy.

Nina

PS..this is the short version. :oops:

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Nandie--

I just typed a long reply--which did not go through. I should have typed it on Word and cut and pasted it... Grrrrrr.

I am too tired to re-type.

In a nutshell--I have two moms with cancer (one doing far better than another, which is a whole guilt-ridden emotional mess for me)--and a wedding date of February 19th, 2005.

My fiancee is on overload with non-wedding related items (the wedding is not even on his radar screen) and the whole wedding thing is far more of an involved process than I had EVER imagined (on every level).

So--YES!--I relate. I am in a boat, without a paddle, and the boat is taking on water... And that's just the silly wedding! :)

I'll write more when I can. Hang in there. My guess is that we have a lot in common.

Melinda

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Nandie:

My dad was dxd in the midst of my nephew planning his wedding (my dad's first grandchild to wed). It was tough on all of us since he didn't last until the wedding. He passed away on 2/23 and this past weekend (8/28) my nephew's ceremony took place.

Now for the good things about this. The wedding was at sunset on the beach at a lake. Forecase was for severe storms and especially in the evening. It rained on many people traveling to the wedding, at the bride's house (close to the wedding location) and other places, but the rain never touched the ceremony grounds. I talked to the bride a few hours before the wedding and she was so happy (over the phone) because she said my dad and her grandpa (who has also passed) were working really hard together to keep the rain away from that spot. Miracles truly do happen!

Another blessing is that my neice had a baby girl born three weeks to the day my dad died. What surprised all of us is that we didn't know she was pregnant. She never had the big stomach and wore jeans and sweatshirts to hide the baby since she's a single mom. My dad passed away not knowing his first great grandchild was on the way, but we figured out that my neice suspected she was pregnant at the same time we found out about my dad's illness and she couldn't find the right time to tell anyone of her troubles. She's a brave girl! The baby is perfect, beautiful and our gift from God. She didn't replace my dad, but she reminds us of him and has kept my mom very busy. God surely does work in mysterious ways.

Just wanted to share some positive thoughts your way!

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After my dad was diagnosed, and after the initial shock (that seemed to last months) We did everything we could to create happy times. We wanted things to seem/feel normal, all the while creating memories with my dad. We didn't know then if he'd beat the disease, but in case he didn't, we wanted to make alot of memories.

There was a 30th birthday party, there were two graduations (grandson from kindergarten, and me from college), we threw them a huge anniversary party unknowingly 3 wks before dad died, and all the many small events that we created each and every day..

Everyone is right- the world doesn't stop on diagnosis and sometimes the best medicene is normalcy especially when it feels like that was ripped out from under you. Normalcy and happiness breeds hope...and I pray that you have a wonderful wedding and that your mom has success with her treatments. Keep us updated.

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My dad recently died after a short 8 months of fighting lung cancer. Unfortunately, things spiralled down quickly for Dad from the diagnosis to the end. I wish with all my heart there had been happy times along the way, mini-celebrations, big celebrations, anything that would have put a smile on his face. In January all he wanted was one more fishing trip, one more day on the lake enjoying the sun on his face. He didn't even get that.

If you have happy events, enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. Every minute you can push aside the disease and live like it doesn't exist, do it. The essence of life is in those happy, normal, hopeful events.

I hope for many "normal" and happy days for your mom, you and your family!

Pam

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