Staring Down Cancer

Living With Cancer in an Empty Nest

Being separated from a loved one is never easy. When a loved one goes off into harm’s way – it hurts. When one half of a couple decides to leave – it hurts. Losing the other half of what makes your world complete is devastating.

And then there is cancer.

Today I felt the tables turn in an odd way. I’m not losing someone because of cancer. After all, I am the one with the cancer. Nonetheless, I am losing. What can one say to a stage IV cancer patient who has just said goodbye to both of her children – off to college on the opposite end of the country. I have spent these years living with cancer trying to take advantage of every day. Being a mom was my second career, but the best career by far.

The medical community would agree my days are “numbered,” but they would do a nice soft sell on the subject. Not knowing how much time I have left, it will be hard for me to live so far away from my kids. Much of my happiness is tied to being with them. Now phone calls will have to suffice. I wonder if there are support groups for empty-nest moms with cancer?

Should we start one? All of you who read this blog are so forthcoming with your stories about your loved one who dealt with cancer or is in treatment right now. Any advice for me this time?

It’s time to let my children fly, and I have. They do not feel they must stay in Los Angeles to be with me, and I take that as a huge accomplishment. I want them to find their way in life and be the best they can be. They have the tools, and hopefully the confidence, to move forward to be successful at whatever it is they choose to do with their life. I am very proud to be their mother!

I want to thank all of you who have sent short inspirational videos to the website Men for Women Now. It's wonderful to hear from men about what they are going through or have gone through during the process of caring for a loved one with cancer. If you would like to send a video (under 60 seconds) that shares tips or advice, all you have to do is upload your video to YouTube and send us the link at

You can "Like" the Noreen Fraser Foundation on Facebook by clicking here.

Noreen Fraser is living with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. She is co-founder of STAND UP TO CANCER and co-produced the TV show, which raised 100 million dollars for cancer research. Noreen went on to create the Noreen Fraser Foundation to raise money and awareness for women's cancer research. The 'Men for Women Now' program enlists men to ask the women they love to make appointments for their mammogram and pap smear. Noreen can be reached at

Noreen Fraser is living with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. She is the Founder and CEO of the Noreen Fraser Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to funding groundbreaking women's cancer research. To stay in touch with Noreen, please 'LIKE' The Noreen Fraser Foundation on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.  Noreen can be contacted via email at