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My son was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in October of 2000. He had 3 years and 3 months of treatments, finishing in December of 2003. He is turning 26 next month. He works, volunteers, and has a great circle of friends.
He is a survivor!
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 was kind enough to give me permission to use her writing here.
For More Information about Childhood Cancer:
The National Children’s Cancer Society
National Children’s Leukemia Foundation
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
Association of Cancer Online Resources – offers email lists for parents of kids with cancer where parents can ask questions and get support. I belonged to one and they are a great source of information and support.
Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation – Get hero beads and a cure childhood cancer vehicle magnet here!
Books I Recommend
What can you do to help?
Heard of any kids with cancer in your own community? Find out what they need. Meals, gas & food gift cards for doctor visits & hospital stays are a couple of ways to help them.
Be an angel to a kid on chemo
Wear a Gold Ribbon for Childhood Cancer, they also have a lot of other products for all cancers.
Get your hair cut! One of my daughters did this a couple of years ago to raise money for research!
Getting your long hair cut?
Donate your hair to be made into a wig.
Make a donation:
Jarrett’s Joy Cart was started by a boy at our clinic. The Joy Cart takes toys to kids in the hospital. They also provide toys and books for the kids when they are in the clinic.
Find a local to you charity that helps kids with cancer or kids in the hospital to make a donation to.
Thank you for reading this list of ways to help. Thank you for your prayers, for they are far more important than anything else you could do or donate.
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