World Cancer Day

Tuesday, February 4th is World Cancer Day

Monday Evelyn had her scheduled appointment at Hopkins.  It was the first one since we passed her one year anniversary of post-treatment for leukemia.  I was reminded all over again of two things.

First, I was reminded the cancer is not easy to defeat.  Three years of chemo, of inserting a port underneath the skin, of countless (I mean, they can be counted, but I LOST count) lumbar punctures and the painful bone biopsies.

After her blood was drawn, I became dizzy worrying about the lab results.  Suddenly she looked paler, anemic.  I noticed a bruise on her shin that had seemed normal the day before, but now screamed WRONGNESS.   And, what was this sore throat?  Had she picked up a germ because her immune system wasn’t functioning?

I remembered a friend’s wife who had recently lost her battle with cancer.  I’d pressed my lips together as he narrated the experience with various pain meds, anti-nausea meds, and chemos. I recognized the majority of names.  Each one attached to a memory with my daughter.

The labs came back and everything was normal — adjusted for the common strain of sore throat she’d caught.

The second thing is the angels who have dedicated their time, energy, and knowledge to helping fight cancer.  The doctors and nurses of Hopkins’ pediatric oncology ward are breathtakingly wonderful.  They will do anything to help you or your child.  ALL of them — not just your assigned caregiver.  Child life specialists are there to help you in the hospital, social workers help you outside the hospital by directing you to organizations.

We’ve now ‘graduated’ from these programs (see ‘Cancer Fighting Resources tab).  What a blessing they were while we were in the trenches.  If you are looking for a way to help a child with a life-threatening disease, I ask you to consider giving to one of these organizations.