A Comparison of Storms and Cancer……….by Kristie….Mom to Kendrie
** Unlike a hurricane or tornado, there is no Cancer Doppler Radar System. You have no advance notice or warning, no way to prepare. No time to board up your windows, throw your possessions in the car and flee the area. You’re just sitting there innocently, minding your own business, and *BAM*, Mother Nature throws a terrifying disaster into your life. Sort of like living through a tornado, only without the adrenaline rush, or the possibility of really cool photo opportunities. In fact, if there were any natural disaster on par with a diagnosis of leukemia, I think it might be an earthquake. When suddenly, the solid ground beneath your feet is shaking and pitching and rolling, nothing is stable anymore, and in the shock of the moment, you feel like the earth is opening up directly underneath. (for the record, I’ve never actually BEEN in an earthquake, but I assume that is what it would be like!)
** In preparation for a hurricane, residents stock up on batteries, duct tape and bottled water. In preparation for Steroid-Week, cancer-parents stock up on macaroni & cheese, pizza and breadsticks. But believe me, the prospect of a child on steroids is much, MUCH more frightening than the prospect of a hurricane. Both are whirling dervishes that wreak havoc … but the steroid child has an attitude to go along with the destruction. Be afraid parents, be very afraid.
** The span of therapy for your child is similar to the time a hurricane spends working its way to shore. You know the storm will pick a path …. but there is nothing you can do but wait and see which way it will go. Will your child be directly in the path of the worst of the side effects, or will the storm of chemotherapy veer off just enough to spare your child the brunt of the storm? You sort of sit back and hold your breath and hope when the storm passes, the parts of your life you care about the most are still standing.
** Your friends and family will become your own personal FEMA team. Online friends and total strangers will become your very own Red Cross, lending moral support and encouragement when you need it. For me, my ALL-Kids support group and Caringbridge friends are my natural disaster response team and they (YOU!) have helped me more than I would have thought possible.
** When the storm passes, and you are considering the toll it took on your family and child —- looking at the damage it has done and the innocence that has been lost, you sit back and think how lucky you are that it wasn’t worse. Because you know it could always be worse. And you are grateful that the sun will shine again. And most of all, you pray for no more storms.
…..Kristie is a much better writer than I am. She was kind enough to give me permission to use her writing here.
If you would like more information about childhood cancer, please visit my Childhood Cancer Page.