Monday, June 2, 2014

Cancer Times Two

Gigi is now five. 
And her sister had cancer when she was five. 
Being the sibling of a child with cancer is tough. 
Tough in a completely different way than the horrible treatments her sister went through. 
But tough in an emotional sense. 
Gigi was 22 months old when her sister was diagnosed.
She spent a lot of time with my parents that first year of treatment.  
To the extent that she sometimes called grandma "mom."
That was hard for me to hear. 
But we had to devote our time to staying in the hospital overnight. 
Helping her sister with needle pokes and hair loss and nausea and the tears that followed. 
It was a hard situation for everyone in our family. 
And we made it through the worst part. 
Two years of chemo is behind us now. 
But cancer still enters our lives on a regular basis. 

The license plate campaign we are working on in Illinois
Doctor visits with the forever patient, Zoe, for bloodwork. 
Now that she's older, Gigi often  wonders why she's left out of things...

Zoe has been the ribbon cutter at the opening ceremonies for the Midwest Charity Horse Show since 2012. 
Her third appearance at the event will be in a few weeks. 
Gigi recently asked me with a pouty look on her face "Why does Zoe always get to cut the ribbon and not me?"
"Honey, I wish she wasn't the ribbon cutter at all, but she is. Because she had cancer."

I want to tell her that I wish we weren't doing a license plate for childhood cancer. 
That we didn't get to drop both of our girls off at cancer camp in July. 
That we weren't so friendly with the security guards at the hospital check-in desk. 
That the nurses on the 5th floor didn't get huge smiles when they see the brunette and blonde sisters. 
I wish none of it had happened. 
But it did.
And we have changed. 
And we are stronger. 
And our daughter is alive.
And there will always be sibling rivalry. 
I just thought it would be about boys in about 6 years. 
Not about cancer. 
But cancer has been Gigi's world  since before her second year of life. 
Two sisters...who both, in some sense, have had cancer.


  1. Wow. This is a good post. I lost a child, not to cancer. But the effects on the other two are apparent to this day, and my youngest is 33.....

    1. I'm sorry for your family's loss. And thanks for reading. It's never easy

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks! It's interesting to see how Gigi responds to things now that she's older.