September first is here and almost gone; it’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. I won’t lie, I have spent much of today thinking about what this post should contain. For those of you that know me well, I’m seldom speechless. Today however, I feel just that. I’m weary from meeting the needs of my son and fighting to fill blood drive sign-ups and golf registrations, and I’m still amazed after nearly twelve full years since Peter’s diagnosis that this ever touched our family.
We were, after all, the perfect new family. We proudly photographed each moment of pregnancy and then the earliest moments of his life. I was fit and healthy, I did everything that What to Expect When You’re Expecting said to do. I refused to even walk in a store aisle that stocked any chemicals. We had a room painted in our home and I slept at my folks. We were mature and educated and ready to be parents.
But there was nothing that could prepare us for our journey into parenthood. Babies with cancer weren’t part of any book that I read; they weren’t part of any family that we had ever met. Diseased, crippled and dying children were on television ads not our home. I faithfully placed my change in the boxes to fund the Ronald McDonald House Charities. That was my contribution for the “other” families, a sort of insurance policy, to keep me from needing the place; It was not meant to be pre-payment for an eight month stay and them quarterly visits for years to follow.
I went to community college and earned a business degree, and just before I registered for my bachelor’s degree Dennis presented me with my MRS. Years of working in a surgical office would pay-off as I quickly sifted gears and became a “momcologist.” I researched diseases and treatments, changed dressings, performed blood draws on my baby and gave him injections. I carried more drugs, syringes and medical clamps than most doctors and nurses that I know and I was using them daily on a baby, my baby.
I am honored to have meet, befriended and loved some of the most amazing moms and dads to walk through the doors of a pediatric oncology clinic. I have held, cried, prayed and shared sleepless agonizing nights with many a cancer mom. I have watched the finest examples of parenthood master Pediatric Oncology 101 and then with unfathomable strength and grace walk their children home to be with the Lord. I have been to funeral services of more children than I allow myself to recall. I have actively planned Peter’s funeral.
I have stood and watched physicians weep for the children whose cures were not to be found on this side of Heaven. I have watched grieving parents band together to raise money to fight for a cure because no matter how many crying mother’s stand in front of congress less than 4% is all the cancer research funding our government has to spare to find a cure for our most precious and richest commodity, our children.
I have watched my son code on two separate occasions, he has rehabbed from a limb lengthening that he called “torture” only to have his leg amputated. With pride I have watched him, rise like a phoenix and fight for cancer children. He formed this foundation simply because, “I can’t do enough on my own”. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. There was a day when I wasn’t a cancer mom either. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. What are you doing to improve the lives of kids with cancer?