It’s been said many times before, but there’s no job quite as tough as being a mother. Multiply that by four and you have Janice Tisdale, a proud mother of four and grandmother to one.
And she has battled through her fair share of adversity on top of that, but somehow Janice has made it through it all thanks to a remarkable inner strength and a tremendous amount of support from her husband Guy, her family, as well as the community of Golden as a whole.
Janice’s fourth child, Keane, was born with a rare condition called Bannayan-Riley-Rubaccava Syndrome. If that wasn’t enough, Keane has also had two separate battles with cancer, with the latest coming in 2008 when he took on thyroid cancer.
Hearing that sort of news once would be nearly unimaginable for most parents, but Tisdale has had to handle difficult news like that on several occasions with regards to Keane.
“You go into shock and you just go through the motions,” Janice said of her reactions to Keane’s various diagnoses. “You have to stay strong for your child. You release it at night or behind closed doors but you stay strong. But it takes its toll on you throughout the years.”
When he was diagnosed with leukaemia in 1997, Keane had to undergo three and a half years of chemotherapy and the hospital basically became his home. But his mom was with him every step of the way.
“That first year especially, I lived at the hospital with him while my husband took care of the other three kids,” Janice recalled.
And that’s precisely when the community stepped up and helped Tisdale and her family in a time of need.
“The whole town of Golden was a huge support to our family during that time.
“Living in a small town, people just care more. So many people ask ‘how are things going?’ and you can be honest,” she added.
Keane is now in remission, but he is also dealing with Lennex-Gastaut syndrome, a condition that causes seizures.And still, Janice and her family persevere.
“Whenever I’m having a bad day, what really helps is I think of somebody that has it so much worse than we do and I realize how good we have it and how lucky we are,” she said. “It really helps.”
Janice was also quick to thank Keane’s multiple caregivers; Nonie (her eldest daughter), Tammy Prather, Jared Kotyk and Lou Buzzel.
“Having good caregivers is everything, to be able to trust them…they’re just amazing.”
Nonie also gave Janice her first grandchild, Kurt, and Janice jokes that she enjoys being a grandmother even more than being a mother.
“It’s the same as being a mom except so much better,” she laughed. “It’s a little bit like reliving when your kids were younger.”
Mother’s Day in the Tisdale household typically entails dinner at a restaurant of Janice’s choosing, but even then her mind is never far from her children’s best interests, with Janice always selecting a restaurant that is set up nicely for Keane’s needs.
“Life would be very lonely without the kids. They bring you so much joy. I live for my kids.”