Friday, October 18, 2013

Parenting, Breast Cancer, & Pregnancy: Advice From This Side - Part I

Well, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The fact this topic came up seems something more than ironic.

As I’ve written both here and in my book, The Single Father’s Guide to Life, Cooking, and Baseball, women to whom I refer as “platonic female friends,” or PFF’s, have occasionally asked me if I’d be willing to talk with their divorced or widower friend about single father parenting. In fact, those requests were my inspiration writing the book and this blog. This is the first time, however, a PFF has asked me if I’d counsel a husband and his pregnant wife who’s been diagnosed with breast cancer.

I’ve lightly edited the note and changed the names to protect the privacy of the people involved.

Good afternoon, Matt.
I hope this finds you well and your book sales healthy!
I realize that this message may come as a bit of a surprise to you, given that you do not know me well. It may even be a bit presumptuous. But it was a risk I was willing to take, if it meant that the wisdom of Father Like a Tree might be able to help another family whom I care deeply about through a difficult time...
A colleague and dear friend, Jane, is facing a difficult challenge. Jane's sister, Kelly was just diagnosed last week with a rather aggressive form of Breast Cancer, Stage 2. She is married with a beautiful little daughter, Belle, and is also currently 4 months pregnant. Kelly will be undergoing surgery and chemo in the upcoming weeks, and is, of course, concerned about how the treatments might affect her unborn child.
When Jane was sharing this news with me, and remarking at how rare it is to see pregnant women with cancer, I immediately thought of you and support you showed your wife. I recall my Mom talking about you and your family with such admiration, about how you were such an inspiration. Though I didn't know you well at the time, I recognized how powerful your strength and love were and the memory stayed with me, which is why I am writing to you today.
My hope is that you might be willing to speak with Kelly and her husband, Kevin, to share your wisdom and insights given your own experience. If you would be willing to do so, I would love to put you in touch with this family. If you feel uncomfortable, please know that I fully understand.
Thank you for your consideration, and please do let me know if you would be willing to speak with Kelly and Kevin.

Check back for my answer on Tuesday, October 22, 2013 for a special edition of The Single Father’s Guide Blog.

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