Voices of Childhood Cancer: Learning to Live in the Moment
Listen to the voices of childhood cancer this month. Every experience is different. These stories of hope and healing start with your compassion and generosity. Your donation helps us reach farther and move faster to develop improved treatments and promising cures for kids with rare cancers. Be childhood cancer aware. Take action. [Presented by Atrium Health Levine Children’s]
Written by Jennifer Haag
At 13 years old, my child was diagnosed with bone cancer in the knee area and above. He went through chemo, surgery to replace his knee and part of his femur, then more chemo—all within ten intensive months. Fast forward a few years, a few months after his 16th birthday, we found out cancer had returned, this time in the pelvis and his lungs.
The prognosis was iffy. There were two outcomes we hoped for, surgery to remove & replace the pelvis and another surgery to remove lung nodules—lots of Chemo, radiation, and potential tumor targeting medicine.
We walked around, beginning to adjust once again to cancer life. Chemo, radiation, and everything not working. Cancer kept popping up in other places—a continuous game of whack a mole, where we were losing.
I received some advice that changed both mine and my child’s life.
Suffering exists. It is a truth in the world. Everyone suffers but in different ways. You can’t escape it. But it doesn’t have to define you.
We decided to stop looking ahead. We did what we could do to help Nicholas battle cancer, even replaced 1/2 of his pelvis. But it took over his life & ours.
This advice helped me realize suffering exist, but if we are present in each day, we can find happiness where we are. This attitude made a huge difference in my outlook and Nicholas’. Every day, despite the pain and tears, there was laughter and joy.
I realized we can find joy in simple places. My cats bring me peace and comfort. Whether it’s a walk around the block or in nature, a time to enjoy the sunshine and the grass beneath my feet. Those can bring happiness. My child napped every day with the kitten on his lap.
Nicholas left us a few weeks before his 18th birthday last year. I miss him so much.
Nicholas was featured during our 2019 September series as he shared what it’s like being a teen with Asperger Syndrome fighting cancer. Learn more about Nicholas here.
Donate Today in honor of Nicholas and all the other kids who have lost their fight to pediatric cancer. Enhance your impact by GIVING MONTHLY. Be part of something ongoing and make a difference… Every. Single. Month. This helps sustain our efforts, long-term… just a little at a time without a financial burden on you.
Voices of Childhood Cancer:
9.1: Voices of Childhood Cancer: A September Series to Help Inspire Change
9.2: Voices of Childhood Cancer: Putting Your Kid in Someone Else’s Hands (Maggie)