When Time Away From Baby Can’t Be Avoided – Follow Up

When Time Away From Baby Can't Be Avoided - Follow Up

Several of our readers have expressed concern for Nancy Cefalu and her family. We received a letter from her and are reprinting it with her permission . . .

Dear Dr. Greene

I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated your thoughtful and timely reply. As you can imagine, the anticipation of being away from my children was almost as bad as actually being gone. I used several of your suggestions and had some interesting results.

I sang one particular song to Shannon for the whole week prior to leaving. Now, since my return, whenever I sing this song, she immediately quiets down to listen. (I also sang it to myself during my isolation.)

I kept pictures of all three children next to my hospital bed. It helped me remember my goal of beating the cancer. I do, indeed, have a lot to live for. What I found amazing was the amount of people who thought I’d be glad for the time away from my children . . . time to rest, read and have time for myself. All I wanted was to be home with them. When I was able to return home I had to stay a minimum of 6 feet away from them, I thought my heart would break at times. So close and yet so far.

Per your suggestion, Shannon slept with a quilt that she and I had both snuggled under for several nights. I’m not sure if it helped but I liked the thought of her being wrapped in it. She sure wrapped Grandma around her little finger – any little peep and Shannon was picked up and cuddled.

Shannon, as I expected, was happy as a clam. She was held constantly by Grandma, Daddy and big brother and sister. The two big kids had a harder time with the separation. The hardest part was trying to explain to them that even though I was home, I still couldn’t sit down and read them a story except from across the room. My nuclear med doctor said to pretend I had a really bad cold and I didn’t want them to catch it from me. That analogy worked better than trying to explain radiation to them.

The isolation is over and life will hopefully return to normal. Having this cancer has helped me appreciate every day a little more than I might have. I know I’m a better mom and I’ll probably be a better day care provider too, after being forced to let someone else raise my babies if only for a short time. Thank you again for your reply. It came at a time when I truly wondered if I would be able to kiss my kids goodbye and walk out the door.

You have a wonderful service – answering parents’ questions and providing information on a variety of topics. I look forward to following your web pages. Thanks again.

Sincerely, Nancy Cefalu

Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.

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