Friday, January 27, 2012

Playing The Cancer Game

I've read a lot of angry words this week written by moms and dads whose children have been stricken with cancer.
Some people who have "important jobs in the world of cancer" have had the audacity to declare that childhood cancer is "rare."
Rare compared to what?
The common cold?
Prostate cancer that 60 year old men get?
Because it hasn't happened to the them?
People are angry because when children with cancer are demoralized and adult cancer is deemed more important by the big national organizations, it's like taking another huge punch to the gut.   
It's okay for the "big guys" to use children who are bald in their marketing venues to get you to donate to them, but then that money that you are sending for the bald kids never reaches them. 
I get it.
There's anger.  
Sometimes this week the angry words were directed at me. 
Some parents irrationally think that whatever horrible thing has happened to their child has not happened to someone else. 
I say irrationally because these are all smart people. 
But when it's happening to your child, your baby, it's different. 
And you truly believe that the world is only crashing down around you and not in another hospital room somewhere else on the planet. 
Not for some other mom and dad. 
But it is and it's falling down differently. 
No two children are alike in their diagnosis and treatment. 
No two children will have the same late effects. 
Because as a whole we are all different and our bodies react differently to what's attacking it. 
I feel like some parents want to share their horror stories to only outdo someone else.
I try not to read too much of what other parents respond to their harrowing stories. 
Here's what I know...we have been lucky. 
Zoe has been lucky. 
I don't think I'm being naive.
Being optimistic has gotten us through this so far.
She's had her share of side effects from chemo and we are trying our damnedest to counteract the late effects of all of this shit that's been done to her. 
I push her to read.
I push her on the piano.
I push her all of the time. 
Probably too much for a soon to be 7 year old. 
But if I don't the cancer will win and I'm NOT going to let that happen. 
My heart openly weeps for the moms and dads who haven't been as lucky as we have. 
I hope I'm not being too confident and I hope I'm not setting her up for a relapse or a fever or another broken bone.
Or something worse. 
It's crazy what goes through your mind, but it's there.  
My brain says "Only I can help or hinder her." 
Because when your child has cancer you play the blame game with yourself.
It's a never-ending game. 
And no one ever seems to win.           

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