You can’t control life, but you can control how you show up in it. On this week’s episode of Courage Up, Stacy Roth shares her journey of childhood cancer and how she is moving forward after losing her son to neuroblastoma. She gives insights on what it looks like to show up, celebrate everything, all about love, and doing hard things. Lessons that were all part of her journey.
September is also Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month. Stacy is kicking off a CUDDLE BEAR drive to provide Books and Bears to families fighting childhood cancer. Now through the end of the month, she will be collecting donations which will then be used to purchase Cuddle Bear Books and Bears for families also a percentage of each purchase will go to the Scott Carter foundation that raises money for childhood cancer research!
She was a special ed early childhood teacher until her son got diagnosed with neuroblastoma about five years ago. When her son Caleb got sick with cancer, she stayed home with him. Walking her family over the last 5 years of childhood cancer battle has been a long journey. He sadly lost the battle about a year ago right before he turned 6. She’s in the process of figuring out what’s next and sitting with the unknown.
He developed a tiny little bump on his neck. The doctor didn’t even want to look at him for it. He had a great 2 year healthy check up. They live in an older house and the doctor tested Caleb for lead levels, his levels were slightly elevated. He developed a fever a little later and she took him to the ER and she said she was only going to leave with a diagnosis. They ended up staying and receiving stage 4 neuroblastoma diagnosis.
The first thoughts were “Not my child. He wore organic diapers!”
Courage Up Moment
She felt like she had a choice. She could lay down and take it or she could transform her family. She just wanted Caleb to be emotionally ok through this whole thing.
She decided no negativity was allowed near him. He still needed to be able to be a kid. They wanted it to make it as normal for him as possible.
The outcome of this type of approach was that he loved the hospital.
Embracing a Positive Mindset
It was a constant battle, sometimes a moment. It was a choice. Her and her family constantly had to choose. She was blessed to have a strong support system. You have to choose to give each other grace, forgive, and keep each other up.
Showing up was the single most valuable lesson through all of this. After Caleb died, Stacy came home and wrote these four things:
In the End It’s All About Love
You can do hard things.
These lessons encompassed her learning journey.
Life happens. The one thing you can do is show up for each other.
Sometimes she just needed someone to listen to her and listen to it all. The interesting thing about showing up is that you can show up and someone doesn’t even know you’re showing up.
The beautiful thing about kids is that they’re always authentic. He was always who he was. He was 2 when he was first diagnosed and he was almost 6 when he died. It became a pretty normal life style for him.
Courage to Live
Caleb didn’t get to grow up and live a full life. It’s a constant choice for Stacy to show up authentically, but she can’t stay stuck there. One of her triggers is isolation. Sometimes she had to force herself to do the next right thing. Waking up early and taking walks, listening to podcasts, read books, celebrate everything. The little things that people forget to celebrate. She continues to make the choice to show up for her and her family. When she tells her story, or hears others stories, it helps her heal. ‘
Having a faith in a higher power and learning about that has really helped her believe and stay ok.
Stacy wrote a letter to staff that spoke of their story for medical students and the medical world, the good and the bad. She wasn’t going to send it, but then she did. She was then invited to speak in front of the Comer medical community.
How To Not Be Angry
She has her grief moments. Caleb’s story and journey brought a lot of light to others and to Stacy. His life is more than just about how he died. Being angry is not helping yourself or the world. Behind all anger is fear and sadness. When she looks back on Caleb’s life, there’s a lot of beauty in it. She wouldn’t wish the journey on anyone, just the lessons because she’s learned so much.
Show Up. Don’t be afraid to show up, we can all do hard things. Sometimes when we show up, we find joy in the weirdest places. Showing up is the light.
In the end it’s all about love
Caleb’s Song “Best Day of My Life” American Authors
Anything by Pink but especially “Courage” by Pink
“You’re going to be ok” Bethel Music
Listen to songs on the Courage Up Playlist!
Anything by Brene Brown and Bob Goff
Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo
Touching Heaven by Leanne Hadley
Connect With Stacy:
Facebook: Stacy Roth
Connect With Ming:
Facebook: Ming Shelby
Listen to songs on the Courage Up Playlist!
Courage Up Facebook Community