Single mum

I don’t even know where to post this…I can’t be the only single mum out there,surely! I am 45 and 2 weeks on from WLE. I go for my results on Thursday, and am expecting to be told I need chemo as well as radiotherapy.
in a lot of ways the actual treatment doesn’t worry me, and I’ve coped okay so far…what is frightening me more than anything is that I’m a single mum with a very lively 8 year old son. I have no family nearby, and in any case my mum is 80. She’s done a great job looking after me these last 2 weeks but she can’t stay for 6 months during chemo. I’ve asked about help with my son but told there is no provision. He’s difficult enough to handle at the best of times (he has Aspergers), but from what I’ve read here and elsewhere I’m going to have problems just doing things like getting him up and putting him to bed. I cant afford babysitters and childminders every night, and whilst I have some good friends, they have their own families to deal with. I’m really worrying about this, and its keeping me awake at night. The worst was when I read the sticky at the beginning of the thread on Chemo on this site which suggests having a bell by the bed for family to bring cups of tea…that upset me more than anything because I don’t have that, I have to make my own cups of tea! Sounds daft, i know, but it’s those little things. Its always just been him and me and we’ve always just got on on our own, and now I don’t think we can, and there’s nobody to help. If I’m honest that’s what I’m afraid of more than anything else and I feel like everyone assumes women with children have partners, and I’ve been forgotten.

Sorry you have had to find yourself on this site. I can’t offer any advise of the kids thing, but there is always someone on this site that will be able to listen, and share what your are going through when you start your treatment. Please don’t feel like your are alone. I have had 1 chemo so far but it was not as bad as I thought. I think you always tend to hear the worst and what side effects you might get. but most people find it doable. I know its hard but try to think that the treatment is there to make you better and you will get through it. I think you will find that friends will rally round, especially ones that you may least expect.
Faye x

Hi Ivorymummy
Although I’m not a single parent I may as well have been as I still worked, cooked cleaned and looked after my 4 year old daughter through treatment with no help from anyone, but I do appreciate had there been an emergency my husband was there. Are you on the Younger Breast Cancer Network on Facebook Redirecting...? You need to like the page and then send a PM to admin who will add you to the secret chat group. There are over 400 ladies on there and they’re a terrific support, there may be ladies in your area, everybody chips in to help where they can. Also, have you contacted Surestart, i’m sure they’d be able to help.
Take care

Hi Ivory mmummy sorry you find your self in this situation but there are some wonderful helpful people on here.
i am also a single mum although my boy is 22 but is the most selfish and unhelpful person Since it started He hasn’t made me one single cup of tea ! which I find very sad.
he hasn’t shopped or emptied the bin. Nothing.
I have done it all.
itnhas been very hard and for a couple of days each chemo cycle I have had to force myself to do chores. But other thit’s those two days its ok. Mind over matter in my case!
however, what concerns me is that your chemo will be starting during the summer holidays. Therefore your son will be at homE all the time. I think you will need help of friends from his school maybe to take it in turns to have him for a few hours a few days each cycle? My tiredness tends to strike in the afternoons so even just to get someone to take him out to the park for sn hour. Or perhaps ring Macmillan for advice, I am wondering if they could maybe fund a nanny for you for occasioonal day times? I am sorry I can’t be of more help but from what I read on the forums, those with young children seem to cope remarkably well, possibly because they have to.
Also, consider getting shopping delivered the week after chemo as shopping is so tiring.?
I am writing this whilst feeling very tired so apologies if it doesn’t make sense but I really feel for you and wish you find some good help. I asked three friends to help me if needed at the beginning of chemo and so far I have only had to ask for Hugs!
Good luck xx

Dear Ivorymummy,
So sorry to read your post. I work with mothers who suffer from illness. From a professional perspective I would ask for a CAF for your son. A CAF (Common assessment framework), is not a statutory children’ s social care referral, it is essentailly a care plan for your son as he is clearly a young boy who has needs over and above the norm both on account of his aspergers, but also now your illness. These CAF’s can be great - we use them all the time to get support and services to mothers / families. You could approach your health visitor, G.P., school nurse or a teacher. They can convene a team around the child meeting from which you can choose a lead professional for the CAF lead.
I don’t know if this will work as a link, but if you google you will find all the information you need on the website.
I hope this helps and sincerest good luck.

Hi ivory mummy,
I’m a single mum and have had two fec. It’s not that bad! All symptoms can be controlled. Make sure you have pain killers mouth wash for ulscers and lactoluse or similar help you go to the loo stuff. Be prepared for all symptoms and get your boys favourite toys and snacks in for the bad days. You can do this. There’s lots of us doing it. I actually found walking the tiredness iff helps lots. Don’t be scared. You can do this.

I am a single mum and was diagnosed a week before my sons 7th birthday. He stayed with my parents while I had surgery but thereafter we were on our own … And it was fine. My aim was to carry on as per usual. Yes there were days I felt rough but the distraction of life and trying to stick to a normal routine certainly helped me. I took him to a couple of the 8 chemo sessions so he could process what that was and then he would go back into school and tell the class all about it! I had 6 weeks of rads and tried to plan that so that I’d finish in time for pick up and was late on a couple of occassions but the school were understanding and kept him safe until I could get there. I told his teacher and asked him to keep an eye out and I found my son had lots of extra invites for playdates etc which was really helpful. The other mums were great in that respect which was amazing given I have always worked full time so never typically been around in the playground much. I should also add that I worked full time during treatment as well. So I guess what I am saying is that it won’t be easy but it is totally doable and you may be surprised who steps up and offers you a help. Wishing you all the best. I am now thinking about reconstructibe surgery and trying to work out how I can manage that. Again my son can stay with my parents whilst I am in hospital but its the 10 weeks or so after I am worried about although luckily my son can now make a decent cup of tea so I shall definitely invest in a bell!