It’s difficult to find the words to describe how I feel about childhood cancer. As an adult cancer survivor, I know what it’s like to go through chemo. I know what it’s like to lose your hair. I know what it’s like to feel like you are dying inside. And when I hear about a child going through this… I get mad. I get upset. I question God’s grace. I ask why. Today, I’m dropping the pink ribbon to give you an uncensored and unfiltered view on childhood cancer. You NEED to read this article.
I will share my opinion with you, but will not take a lot of time because I have a very special friend and Warrior Mamma who is bravely opening up about her son’s treatment and what it’s like for her family. Hopefully by this point, your heart will be called to action, so I will provide some resources and ways for you to get involved and show your support.
Why I Hate Childhood Cancer
As an adult, we have experience, maturity, knowledge and the understanding to cope with a cancer diagnosis. Regardless of how tragic, we can comprehend that getting sick and even dying is all a part of the circle of life.
A child does not have the same kind of experience and knowledge. They live in a world where they should be protected from harm. They should run around barefoot in the backyard and watch Frozen a million and three times. They should be carefree and happy and innocent. Cancer destroys all of that. Cancer robs them of their childhood. The chemo treatments, being sick every day, losing your hair, missing school, long stays in the hospital…no child should EVER… EVER have to go through that. No parent should have to watch their child go through that. Here’s one that did.
A Warrior Mamma’s Story of Her Son’s Treatment
I was introduced to Warrior Mamma, NL, last year through a very dear friend of mine. Her 6 year old son, KL, was diagnosed with a rare childhood cancer. Her family is very private and has been through a lot, but she has kindly and graciously let me share her family’s story to help raise awareness for childhood cancer. In one year’s time, she watched one of her twins suffer from cancer treatments, while the other one was healthy, all while trying to take care of a brand new baby girl. This family is amazing and you need to hear their story.
October 18 – her family celebrated their twin boys 6th birthday like any other day.
October 25 – the boys got their hair cut, and Warrior Daddy noticed a lump on the back of KL. KL did not have any injuries, pain, or other symptoms.
October 27 – KL went in for an ultrasound to get the mysterious lump checked out.
October 30-31 – KL had surgery to remove the lump which was larger than the size of an orange. It was a rare form of childhood cancer. KL had Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma. This is a solid tumor cancer that develops in the soft tissue and muscles. KL’s twin brother went trick or treating in the hospital while the family coped with the news of this horrible diagnosis.
November 2014 – August 2015 – After surgery, KL endured weekly trips to the hospital for months of chemo treatments, radiation treatments, and blood transfusions.
A Very Personal Message From Warrior Mamma
It has been the longest 40 weeks of our lives as we had to watch our innocent 6 year old baby suffer and struggle to get better, while his twin sibling and brand new baby sister had to spend that year growing up in a hospital with their brother.
We had good and bad days, we had ups and downs and as difficult as it was it brought our family together to get our little man better! Cancer robbed my boys of their innocence and their 6th year of childhood. We spent days in the hospital or at the Ronald McDonald house. KL has taught us the true meaning of life and to open or eyes more and to not take things for granted!!!
Being a cancer parent is terrifying. Watching your kiddo suffer and not knowing what tomorrow will bring with this horrible condition makes life unbearable at times. He needed us to be strong so he could be strong. We had to cry alone at night so he wouldn’t see the fear and depression that we struggled with. There is help out there, there are people out there that can help and get you through it. Our kiddos are our future, we need to give then a future!
What’s Next for KL
KL is starting to feel better and we are praying that he will be pronounced “cancer free” when he goes in for his first post chemo scan next week. He will then go back in December for a follow up scan which if clean he will be able to have his port removed. We do not have any other plans or information on what happens if they are not clean or anything like that but we are all just praying we don’t have to worry about that!!!
What You Can Do For a Warrior Family
Find things the kiddos like and get them little things to help pass the time spent in the car or at the hospital that will make mom and dad’s days easier. See what the family likes for meals and make some meals so the family can come home and relax without the worry. Or meals they can have on the go, at the hospital or hotel. See if mom and dad need a night out or a lunch break, however be mindful to the germs and be cautious, as the kiddo will be very immunosuppressive. Organize a fundraiser for the family to help with the massive expenses that occur during the journey through cancer treatments. But overall the best thing anyone can do, is show them you care and be there for the family even if it means a simple text, call, or message just to see how they are feeling and if they need to talk or need anything.
NL – I can’t thank you enough for being so brave and sharing your story. Every day my heart just broke for you and KL as I followed your journey with his treatments. You were a daily reminder of God’s strength and grace and watching KL through this journey has made me want to fight even more. This is why I’m doing my little part to #ShowYourGold and encouraging others to support childhood cancer.
This is My Fight Song
Anyone who works in Oncology is an angel. Those who work in Pediatric Oncology… whew. I don’t know how they do it, and I don’t know how anyone could have that much love in their heart to be called to this profession. Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” has become the official anthem for anyone fighting cancer. Here’s a tribute to my Little Warrior Brothers and Sisters and the angels who are treating them. Trust me and grab a tissue before you hit play.
Moved to Action?
1. My dear friend Christine St. Vil of Moms N Charge is leading an effort, Help Fight Childhood Cancer with St. Jude Walk/Run in DC. You can read about it HERE. If you are local to the DC Metro area, Christine would love for you to join her Moms for St. Jude team in person.
3. If you aren’t into St. Jude’s for whatever reason, there are plenty of Children’s Cancer Centers around the country or the Ronald McDonald House that you can support.
Connect and Share
What about you? How will you help me fight childhood cancer?
Love, hugs, and I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me.