Fighting Cancer As a Parent
- Wendy Lowe, proud mom to Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Josh Lowe and Texas Rangers first baseman Nathaniel Lowe, has revealed she’ll be missing her sons’ playoff games as she’s undergoing chemotherapy for brain cancer.
- The type of brain cancer Wendy Lowe is battling hasn’t been revealed to the public. Regardless, we’re happy to hear she’s doing what she needs to do to fight the disease.
- “People have a range of emotions when they’re diagnosed with cancer,” New York-based psychiatrist Dr. Lori Plutchik tells SurvivorNet.
- “And they can include fear, anger, and these emotions tend to be fluid. They can recede and return based on where someone is in the process. Going through a cancer diagnosis is just the beginning of a complicated, complicated process.”
Her son’s, Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Josh Lowe and Texas Rangers first baseman Nathaniel Lowe, are set to play at Tropicana Field for this weeks American League Wild Card Series.Read More
As their teams on Monday prepared to meet in the AL Wild Card Series, brothers Josh and Nathaniel Lowe were thinking about their mother, Wendy, who is battling brain cancer and will be unable to watch from the stands. #RaysUp #StraightUpTX https://t.co/aZTh7TlMm8— Sports by Tampa Bay Times (@TBTimes_Sports) October 2, 2023
Speaking before his Monday workout, according to the Tampa Bay Times, Wendy’s youngest son Josh said, “She’s going through chemo right now, and she won’t be able to make it.
“But I asked her if it’s OK if I said something, and she said yes, because the more people that know, the more prayers that can be said for her.”
Wendy may be missing her sons’ upcoming games, but she was able to see Josh and Nathaniel share a major league field together for the first time, when their teams played against each other in June.
She wore a personalized jersey supporting both teams, with their family name “Lowe” on the front and back of it.
Watching your sons play against each other at the highest level has to be an awesome feeling pic.twitter.com/K2iRLEW00i
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) June 10, 2023
Josh explained that just weeks after the Rays vs Rangers game, Wendy had a seizure, which led to her cancer diagnosis and prompted Josh to go on family medical leave amid his mom’s surgery. Both Josh and Nathaniel returned to play for the latter half of the season.
In another interview with the Dallas Morning News, Nathaniel said, “Chemo, radiation and doctor appointments get in the way of her coming to the game.
“Objectively speaking, that’s what it is. It’s a lot. It’s the only way I know how to say it. It’s just a lot.”
Its apparent how much support the Lowe family have from those close to them. Even Chris Young, the general manager of the Rangers, spoke out on how he understands what the brothers are going through.
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Young said, “On a personal level, I lost my dad this time of year eight years ago, and I know how hard it is to play a game and constantly be thinking about a sick family member.
“So, certainly our thoughts and prayers are with the Lowe family and, you know, for for Josh and Nate.”
He continued, “I can sympathize and empathize with how hard this is for them. It’s really hard. These are human beings, and to compartmentalize and go out and play a game we’ve worked our whole life to be on the stage, and meanwhile you’re suffering at home, it’s really, really challenging.”
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) June 9, 2023
The type of brain cancer Wendy Lowe is battling hasn’t been revealed to the public. Regardless, we’re happy to hear she’s doing what she needs to do to fight the disease.
Fighting Cancer as a Parent
Facing cancer as a parent, like Wendy Lowe, can be incredibly daunting. Fearful thoughts about leaving your children may creep into your mind and add even more to your overflowing plate.
Gina de Givenchy, like Wendy Lowe, knows this to be true. She struggled to navigate the relationship with her 12-year-old daughter during her breast cancer battle.
“I felt it was important to mask it because I really wanted her to know that I was going to be OK,” she said. “I didn’t want her to see me weak and sickly.
“When it comes to your kids, I think you always want to sort of protect them.”
The pressures of parenting are always there whether cancer is a factor or not. But feeling that pressure may actually be something that helps you battle the disease with everything you’ve got, according to colon cancer survivor Jovannie Lorenzo.
“I knew that I had to do everything possible to be here for my children,” the single parent of three told SurvivorNet. “They are my saving grace. They are the reason I wake up every morning. They are the reason why I fight every single day and I make a choice to be positive, to be happy, and to move forward.”
Managing Emotions After a Cancer Diagnosis
Despite Josh and Nathaniel’s mom’s brain cancer diagnosis, the MLB players remain hopeful for her future — something we’re happy to see.
Licensed clinical social worker Sarah Stapleton previously told SurvivorNet that you should be “patient with your emotions” and communicate what you need from those around you as you process the news.
“The way people respond is very variable,” New York-based psychiatrist Dr. Lori Plutchik said in an earlier interview. “Very much consistent with how they respond to stresses and challenges in their life in general.”
Plutchik stresses that your emotions, like the ones Lowe may be dealing with, are valid during this journey.
“People have a range of emotions when they’re diagnosed with cancer,” Dr. Plutchik explained. “And they can include fear, anger, and these emotions tend to be fluid.
“They can recede and return based on where someone is in the process. Going through a cancer diagnosis is just the beginning of a complicated, complicated process.”
Dr. Plutchik also explained that the patient and their family members should accept that they may feel fine one day and then feel a massive wave of stress the next.
It’s so important for those you look to for support, whether that’s a therapist, friends and family, or both, to understand the fluidity of stress-related emotions.
If a stressful event is affecting how you think and feel, it may be helpful to look for some type of mental health treatment. Help can be received through traditional talk therapy, medication, changing lifestyle habits (like exercise and diet), seeking out a support group, or many other approaches.
And when it comes to anxiety, it’s “the worry about a future event and also the underestimation of our ability to cope,” clinical psychologist Dr. Marianna Strongin told SurvivorNet.
A person doesn’t know what will happen in the future (like with their health, family or money), and furthermore, they’re not sure they can handle that unknown.
Understanding Brain Tumors
Although we’re unsure what type of brain cancer Wendy Lowe is battling, it’s interesting to know that brain tumors account for 85-90% of all primary central nervous system (CNS) tumors, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).
In 2023, the ASCO estimates that 24,810 adults (14,280 men and 10,530 women) in the United States will be diagnosed with primary cancerous tumors of the brain and spinal cord.
The central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord and acts as the main “processing center” for the body’s nervous system. The normal function of the brain and spinal cord can become difficult if there’s a tumor putting pressure on or spreading into normal tissue close by.
There are many different types of brain and spinal cord tumors, and some of which are more likely to spread into nearby parts of the brain or spinal cord than others. Slow-growing tumors may be considered benign, however, even these types of tumors can lead to serious problems.
Contributing: SurvivorNet Staff