Saturday, May 24, 2008

Conversations with Cancer...

Childhood cancer is a fight no one wants to imagine; some can’t stomach. Please don’t stop reading. Please don’t click away from this page.

None of us want to (if we don’t have to) feel the gut-wrenching pain of watching a child fight for her life. It’s an impossible thing to imagine, it’s something you want to breeze by to protect your heart. It’s something you can’t digest. Their skin is burned, their little heads bald. It’s horrific but they are counting on you.

I spent the weekend with Mimi and our friend Haley. We traveled on Sunday to Maryland to be with John Eric and his family. John Eric was a toddler who had just been placed on hospice care. I was nervous. I truly didn’t want to go; I felt I would be the elephant in the room, the obviously-not-touched-by-cancer person but I was their ride. I was blessed by the welcoming arms of his parents and extended family. It was beautiful. It was truly a gift to have met the Bartels family! When we left, I touched his baby bald head and said good-bye. He earned his wings last week.

To make a difference, we need to look, we need to touch, it needs to be real. So, I have invited a few of my friends to tell you what cancer is like. They want to share a piece of what is their life; their “normal.”

Mimi Avery, mother of Julian who passed away January 19, 2008. Mimi wrote this on her carepage 2 days after Julian left for Heaven.
“Empty shell are the words that came to my mind today as I laid my eyes on Julian's so very still body. It made it so real, so final... I felt like I was at the wax museum, it looked like Ju but it was just a cold, hard ,wax copy of Julian . It wasn't him , how could it ? Surely I left him at home playing with the boys... Seeing him laying in his caskett was unbelievably painful, my heart cracked a little more, a little deeper. I won't EVER get to hold my child again, EVER... Nothing is more final than that.”

Mikayla, a grade-schooler with Leukemia asks her mom at bedtime, “When you were 4 and had cancer did you have to take chemo?” Christine, her mom says, “It just breaks my heart that she thinks this is normal, every kid does this and yet it is her normal. It is her every day, it is all she knows or remembers.” She goes on to say, “I see lots of people turn their heads and act like it isn’t real. So, when you see someone who could walk away, actually stay in the fight, it means more than you will know to us cancer moms!”

Coleman, a 4 year old twin with Medulloblastoma is quite the little fighter. His carepages are filled with his sweet 4 year old lingo.
Coleman explains, “It’s hard to be hooked up to a pole all day when it’s a sun-shiny day, ann be in your hos-pita woom all day when yoa don’t wanna be there ann wish ya tould be outside in-said, but NO, ya tan’t. I wish that no more tids would det tancer, tuz it's tewwible to haffa do all-a the suff what ya dotta do. If no more tids dot it, then we tould all yust be no-mal wif no more pokes."
Coleman’s twin Caden chimed in and gave his two cents, “cancer is the worse day of my wife (life) because you don’t getta pway wif your brudder when ya weally want to. Sometimes the hospital is fun …if ya aren’t froe-in up wike Coleman does sometimes. I wish that no tids ever det tancer, so they tan haff fun all-a their days until they be daddies."

Cancer kills. Cancer is a demon that the body just can’t expel. Cancer makes me cry. If we all let it hit deep enough to cry, we will be moved to make a difference.

1 comment:

Theresa said...

You did a great job on this post.
Love Theresa