This past year, its seemed that kids with cancer has become a more common thing than in the past. Maybe its just because Im more in tune with it, or maybe its because it means something more than it used to, or maybe its because people are becoming more aware and in turn – more talk about it. Either way. This year its been heavy on me, and with September in full force – the awareness has begun.
In the past almost eight years, there are some things that just havent been on the top of my mind to remember. And maybe its better that way. Infact, I know its better that way. In order to heal, things must be forgotten. While I will never forget the ordeal of watching my child suffer – the details, arent something I have thought a lot about.
The full thrust is never lost on me, but the early days – the defining moments, the reality sinks in. Those small things that get plowed over by the major events such as death.
Its not something to be taken lightly.
None of it is.
While I wish I could be one of the ones to say “Hey we survived! Its possible! There IS hope!” I cant. Instead I feel the pain of others, and offer some hope, that, there IS hope. I hope that there is hope, and try to believe. Because there are statistics. There is hope, right? Its not completely incurable. Hey look! Shiny! Im good at that. But deep down somewhere in the hidden compartments of my life, I have the doubt. The truth. The knowledge. That every case, every person, every child – is not exempt.
Fevers, aches, pains, whines and cries – are no longer simple things. There is no such thing as a “Simple fever” or “Common cold.” There is no childhood illness. There is no innocence in getting sick. To a parent who has walked the dark streets of childhood cancer, and taken the path that DIDN’T lead to success and hope – I can honestly tell you this.
Parents whos children who have had cancer and survived, will also tell you the same thing. Their lives will never be the same. Every common cold, every ache and every pain their child will suffer, will be tainted with the fear that the cancer has returned. Every parent who has watched their child die – will tell you. There is no such thing as a simple fever. There is fear that lurks around every corner, everyday, of every minute.
And while as parents, we hide that fear, we laugh it off and cover it with a smile and a calm response – underneath there is all hell breaking lose. Because as parents who have been there – we know.
Maybe that’s harsh. But its true. Its truth uncovered.
Before my own daughter got sick – I didn’t think twice about a fever, or a pain. Or a kid who was slightly off. I chocked it up to overly tired. I believed that we were invincible. Cancer never was in my vocabulary. Childhood cancer did NOT exist to me. My daughter was exempt from ALL harm as long as I could reach her. As if my touch would be enough.
Eight years later I will tell you that life is not the same. Simply hearing the words “Running tests for cancer” can wreck havoc in ways that people who have never been there, will not understand. We all know how evil cancer is. The words are so common – that everyone “Knows someone who knows someone” who has or has had cancer. But living through, living beside, and living IN the world of childhood cancer? Is a different kind of life.
And its one I wish others did not have to experience. I wish for a world of simple fevers, and common colds. I wish for a world where ignorance is bliss, where parents don’t have to fear the six letter word.
I wish that my daughter, my life, my world didn’t have to end this way. But since wanting that wont change a thing – I hope for the next best thing, and that is a world without cancer. A world where children didn’t have to battle a disease so powerful and evil and twisted that their parents cant save them.
I wish for a world without childhood cancer.