When my son was diagnosed with T Cell ALL, I felt like I was steamrolled by an ocean-liner. One moment, life was completely normal and the next, shattered into a million shards of glass. I went through so many stages of grief, anger, jealously, resentment, sadness, numbness - you name it, I experienced it. As time wore on, I bandaged my soul and moved forward in helping my family heal. The problem was, I wasn't helping myself heal. My community did not have a support group for my particular situation and I found myself searching online for caregivers like me. I found Momcology and instantly was drawn in by the privacy component along with the ability to connect with people in my exact situation. When I discovered there was a retreat where I could replenish myself and connect with other mothers, I was beside myself. I filled out my application the moment it was uploaded to the site! My weekend retreat with Momcology was a lifesaver for me. I bonded with a group of women that were just like me. A battle we face together and only we can understand. It was deep. Mind blowingly deep. It was also cathartic. Beyond connecting over our stories, we had massages, painting, hiking, journaling, and eating delicious and beautifully prepared foods. In essence, we were taken care of for the weekend. The women who ran the retreat were as much a part of the group as the attendees. Each was effervescent and glowed with the warmth us moms need right now. They are my sisters forever. What this experience taught me is that I am not alone. I am here. I am not a shadow of my former self. I'm surviving. The beautiful thing is now I have an army of sisters to do it with.
Before Momcology, I was lost in the cancer world. When Mason was diagnosed, I had no one to talk to about the anger I felt and what I could've done to prevent this. Momcology helped me understand that those feelings are normal and hearing other women's stories and how they cope was life-changing. I've leaned on these women when I had nowhere else to go, and they have leaned on me in their time of need. Momcology is vital to the healing, transformation and courageous journey families go through after a cancer diagnosis. My only regret is not finding Momcology sooner. While anyone can sympathize when your child is diagnosed with cancer, there is something comforting in the empathy from another cancer family. When you hear the words "You child has cancer" your entire world changes. You have to become a stronger advocate for your child; essentially becoming their nurse, learn medical terminology and what medications work/don't work for them. Support from other women is vital because we all have the mother's instinct to protect our child and that drive/force is fierce. The support I've received for various marital, social, medical and day-to-day questions from Momcology is irreplaceable. The love, compassion and friendship I have found through the Retreat I attended saved my marriage, changed my outlook on life and helped me be a better caretaker/mother/wife and most importantly, woman.
There are very few "silver linings" of a childhood cancer diagnosis,but finding Momcology has been the best thing that has happened to my family since Ellie was diagnosed with leukemia two years ago. The friendships that I've made with other mothers have helped ground me and inspire me during the hardest time in my life. My kids benefit because I have the input of thousands of other mothers whenever a question or issue comes up. And my husband loves that fact that my Momcology connections have helped give me a sense of purpose and well-being that spreads out into our everyday life. Feeling isolated and scared makes caring for a critically ill child an even more impossible task... once parents feel supported emotionally, by others who can truly understand what they are experiencing, they are able to bring their best and healthiest self to fight. Momcology brings together parents who are in treatment all over the country and world- enabling us to quickly share new ideas and information. When primary caregivers are informed and inspired, we are empowered and proactive with our children's care.
Simply stated, Momcology is important to me because it changed my life. My son is on the autism spectrum and was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) at age 3. For the first two and a half years or so that he was on treatment, I searched high and low, looking for someone else – anyone else - who had a child with both cancer and autism. Just one "someone" who could understand the unique obstacles we had been facing. After being referred to Momcology, I found seven moms like me instantly, spread out across the country. I haven't had the privilege to meet those moms in person yet, but I hope to one day. They understand every high and every low of this life like very few other people can. And I never would have found them without Momcology. For that, I am eternally grateful. Momcology is an extremely important resource because raising a child with a life threatening illness is very isolating. When your child is fighting to stay alive, you fight with them. Often people who were close to you "before cancer" drift away for one reason or another. It's a hard life to live, and not one any of us would choose willingly. Momcology is a place where we can share questions, worries, frustrations, sorrow and joy with people who have real life experience "walking in your shoes". I would not be the same person I am today without the comfort, support and advice I've received from the diverse group of parents I've met through Momcology.
Attending the Momcology retreat was life changing. Before the retreat, I struggled with talking about certain aspects of my daughter's cancer diagnosis, despite having a supportive group of friends and family. Through Momcology, I have found a group of moms that "get it." Many of the attendees had the same worries and fears, and it was comforting to know I was not alone. The Momcology retreat taught me many ways to cope with my stress and anxiety, including yoga, meditation, and journaling. These restorative tools have continued to be beneficial in the time following my retreat. Because of the Momcology Retreat, I have gained a new sense of hope and peace. The love, friendship, and community I have found through the retreat has carried over into my everyday life, and made me a better mother, wife, and human being.
The day I found Momcology, is the day I found hope.
The CHOP/Momcology peer-to-peer caregiver support group has played such an important part in adjusting to life after cancer. The group has a wide range of children's ages, diagnosis, and stages, so I always feel comfortable talking about my experience with childhood cancer. I have valued the opportunity to meet other caregivers that understand what I’ve been going through. One of the most helpful aspects of the group is having clinical experts share their knowledge and listen to input at each of the meetings. I feel like my voice is being heard and practical solutions are presented to help. The love and support shared within Momcology is like no other. I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to have a local group of peers who not only understand, but can walk together through this challenging journey.
Cancer changes and affects all people in its destructive path and its left me feeling exposed and damaged. It gives no warning or time to prepare for its wrath. It hits like a tornado and you have to hold on tight to what you can salvage. Momcology has helped me face the aftermath and has allowed me an opportunity to rediscover myself. With the encouragement of other moms, I've dusted myself off, picked up the pieces and now have a greater understanding of my self-worth. I am standing tall and mighty once again. I am forever grateful for the experience, the connection and the support.
The Momcology Retreat was such a huge step in my personal healing. I didn't realize that I had been neglecting myself. I am so busy taking care of everyone else, that I had forgot about myself. I learned that self-care is so important, and I need to make sure that I take care of myself so that I can be the best version of myself for my family. I can't pour from an empty cup. I didn't realize how much I needed a Momcology Retreat weekend away to find peace and center my mind, body and soul. I met some amazing women and have made friends for life. I took away far more than I gave, but I came out of the retreat a refreshed and renewed woman. This program is so very important and I hope every mother of a child with cancer can have this opportunity.
I have been traveling the pediatric brain tumor journey for a long time. I have always wished that we had an in-person local support group. I have been involved in online support groups for years, but was missing the connection of a more intimate setting. When the Momcology support group was formed, I was nervous about going. I didn’t know some of the women, but I was desperate to find local support, so I went. And wow, was I glad I did! What an amazing group of women I met. Each meeting was better than the last, and I have come to call some of these women close friends just after six short meetings. It’s a place where I can go to learn and receive support. I don’t have to worry if I end up in tears because it doesn’t matter. I don’t have to pretend that everything is ok. They get it. I found the support topics that were offered in our meetings were extremely valuable. Momcology support group meetings are a place filled with love, support and friendship, something that can be lacking in the world if pediatric cancer. I am so thankful that CHOP and Momcology started this collaboration. They are the perfect way to provide much needed and wanted support for families.
The opportunity to spend time with other women who have experienced the same thing I was going through, gave me hope that I would be okay. Talking through the experience with other moms helped me identify why I had certain emotions about my child’s cancer diagnosis, and it helped me address those emotions. I received more therapeutic-type benefit from this one weekend than I have in the past 3 months of therapy. Thank you Momcology for getting me back on track!
When you hear the words that your child has cancer, there are so many thoughts going through your mind. Knowing that you have a group of women who have fought the same battles, have heard the same words, and have felt everything that you are feeling is priceless. You know that when you are on fever watch at 3am, there is another mother who is on the same fever watch and you can support one another. When you are sitting in a hospital room for days on end, it gets lonely. Being able to reach out to a support group to see if anyone else is in the hospital to meet up with for a cup of coffee, can make some of the hardest days even just a little bit better. I have met lifelong friends because of Momcology and I no longer feel alone in this experience. Momcology is my family.
I've told our story hundreds of times but this was by far the most raw, transparent, healing experience for me! Meeting other amazing women allowed me to remember where I was, where I want to be, and where I am today. Not only did I learn so much, but I also met another mom with a child that had the same rare leukemia diagnosis. This weekend instilled so much hope, forgiveness, and permission for self-care during this challenging phase in life. Every cancer mom deserves this experience from Momcology!
The Momcology Retreat experience was priceless to me. The profound support, connection and advocates in one room that I just knew were there for me and I for them the moment eye contact was made. In a room full of friends, family or people in general, I still feel alone, isolated and left behind..... but not here! Our stories may be different, but our feelings were relatable. Our child's cancer may not be the same, but our pain is. I truly felt it was a safe place to express my fears, worries, feelings and story and I be finally understood. I am forever changed by my son's diagnosis, and I am forever changed by these women, warriors, advocates, and moms! Thank you for a lifetime of memories, and even more so for a lifelong connections.
I went into the Momcology Retreat feeling lost, broken and anxious. I was hesitant at first to let go, and to share, but quickly learned that we were all there for each other, with similar yet different stories. In the end we all want the same thing, happy healthy children, to have our stories heard, and to make a difference. I came out of this retreat feeling less broken, relaxed, refreshed, and in absolute awe of every single woman I came into contact with while there. I know we are never in this alone, and am so glad I had this opportunity, and left with lasting friendships, love in my heart, and more knowledge than I could even take in.
Momcology was a game changer for me. Where I live, most of the other families live two hours away. Momcology gave me connection and community where, in my region, that's a hard thing to create. Momcology also gave me an opportunity to work on connecting other families like me by opening a local support group under Momcology. When a parent must go through this alone; confidence, self assurance, stability are lacking and personal stress can be way up simply because this is new uncharted territory. But when you give that parent more legs (or peers) to stand on, who are at various stages of the same trial, that parent can feel more successful knowing that these life-altering decisions have been made and felt by others too. Momcology has taken away the isolation I felt, and helped me be the light for others too.
I came to the retreat feeling like a robot who existed to get my daughter to all of her appointments we were just getting through things. During the retreat I started to believe what I had been told since diagnosis, I have to take care of myself. Returning home after the retreat we are not just going through the motions of cancer treatment, our time together is more meaningful.
Before coming to the Momcology Retreat, I was overwhelmed with anxiety, stress, and depression from my son's cancer journey. I did not have many oncology moms to talk to about the cancer journey. I came to the retreat in a bad place in my life and left feeling like a whole new person! I left the retreat with having new friends, with new support, with new hope, and most of all with no stress! I LOVE Momcology!