09/11/2013 12:59 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month: 22 Signs You're a Cancer Parent Pro

1) You recognize there's no such thing as too many vomit buckets in your home.

2) Words like "neutropenia," "pentamidine" and "cyclophosphamide" just trip off your tongue (and you can spell them, too!).

3) You're irritated that someone's taken your usual spot in the hospital parking lot.

4) You pack coordinating outfits and your hairdryer (and possibly even your anti-aging cream?) to use during your child's hospital stay... it's become your second home, why look like a hot mess?

5) You breeze past hospital security. They should know who you are by now, for God's sake.

6) You're mistaken for a social worker as you walk to the hospital elevator.

7) You realize you are getting too attached to your nurse practitioner.

8) The hospital cafeteria cashier asks you for your staff discount card.

9) Your first thought of the day as you wake up beside your inpatient child is not getting your caffeine fix, but asking your RN for the latest ANC.

10) A rising ANC makes you blink back tears of joy.

11) You marvel at discovering the only truly waterproof mascara that doesn't leave rivulets of black running down both cheeks when you cry.

12) A doctor's request to talk in private triggers a reflex of primal terror.

13) You question the phlebotomist when the lab requisition isn't marked STAT.

14) You get used to the resident saying they'll have to get the attending to answer your questions.

15) You wish the residents would stop wasting your time and only the attending would attend.

16) The attending's face falls when she sees you at your child's bedside -- she knows she's stuck with you for a while.

17) You wonder when you'll get your paycheck -- wait a minute, you don't work at the hospital, or anywhere anymore (who'd want to hire you, anyway?).

18) You are constantly on the lookout for attractive hats for your child.

19) You've perfected the stink eye for anyone who dares to stare at your child's bald head or steroid-swollen face.

20) You restrain yourself from saying "WTF" when you hear your daughter's friend complain about her new haircut.

21) You snoop through your child's email inbox and intercept those messages that you decide are insensitive.

22) You are never without tissues and Tylenol. You know that you'll probably have a thumping headache and/or shed a torrent of tears at least once a day.


This post originally appeared in The Mourning After Natasha.