If you’re anything like me, you really don’t want to know anything about Childhood Cancer. You don’t want to know that your child’s sore knee is going to turn into a Cancer diagnosis, and you definitely don’t want your child to become one of the three children per week who lose their lives from Cancer. You probably also don’t want to think about the complications that may arise in children who go through Cancer treatment (I sure don’t).
I desperately didn’t want to be someone who had to watch their child endure treatment for Cancer, but almost two years ago I heard those fateful words about our beautiful son, Sam ~ “I’m sorry, he has Leukaemia” ~ and thus our journey with Cancer began.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month. I don’t want to fill your screens with sad tales and statistics but, over the next month, I do want to share a few stories with you of families we have met on our journey. I do want you to think about how we can do “small things with great love” to help families who are facing a Cancer diagnosis, and I’ll give you a few ideas of how you can join in some fun projects with us. I really (really) hope you never have to hear that your child has Cancer, but I’ll also share some thoughts on how we have made it through the past two years and things that may help if you’re facing a similar challenge.
There are certain things I can never forget. Like the bleachy scent of the Children’s hospital, especially on days when there are less people around. Like the purple gloves we always had to wear when we collected Sam’s urine in bottles in the early days of treatment. Like the musical beeping sound of the machines the IV drugs are hooked up to when they go off (what feels like a thousand times) throughout the night during a hospital stay. And I’m pretty sure the date of 9 September (the day of Sam’s diagnosis) is seared onto my heart. It’s amazing how quickly all the things we would have considered terrifying became our new normal.
But I believe we are amongst the lucky ones. We have a son who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in 2013 and not years ago when the prognosis was far more bleak. We have a son who has responded extremely well to treatment and not required many unscheduled hospital admissions. We are lucky because we have been able to take Sam home with us from hospital, time after time, and watch him grow and thrive, and become healthier and stronger over time. We are lucky to have the perspective of two years, to look back and know just how far we have travelled and how relatively calm it feels now in comparison with those heady, blurry early days post diagnosis.
There have certainly been moments (many, I’m sure) where we haven’t felt very lucky to have a child with Cancer, and no doubt there will be more ahead. But today we count our blessings and try to pay it forward, to make the lives of those travelling a similar journey a little easier. Thanks for helping us x