Worst Nightmare

These are the words of my mother. She told me she is not good at writing so I asked her questions instead and documented what she had to say. If it is all over the place, that is because sometimes my mom is. I love her words in this, it is organic and totally 100 percent her. Take a look and read this to hear from the perspective of a parent dealing with their child going through cancer…

“It is every parents worst nightmare to find out your child is sick. Any time your child is sick it is upsetting, but it was heart wrenching getting the diagnosis. From the very beginning, before knowing anything, I would lay in bed at night and just pray that the tumor was pre cancerous, because why should my child have cancer? At least if it was pre cancer it wasn’t actually cancer.

Getting the diagnosis it was heart breaking, I thought I got punched in the gut and had the wind knocked out of me. BUT I also felt a little bit of relief having that diagnosis. Now, at this point my husband and I said “what is the next step and how do I make her better”? Angela always looked healthy to me but in my head I thought chemotherapy was going to take Angela out for the count. I pictured my daughter as frail and to lose her long hair right away…

I would ask myself sometimes, why does my child have cancer? What did I do? 

We had support from the family and the town got involved. The support from our family lead to getting Angela’s amazing doctor at Dana Farber. 

But meeting Angela’s doctor, Doctor Crombie, made me feel a sense of ease with her soft spoken voice and kindness. When we sat with her the first time I felt like Angela was her only patient even though she was most definitely taking care of a lot of other sick cancer patients. 

Angela’s first chemo was the hardest. Watching my child have poison put into her body was tough pill to swallow. Getting her better meant getting worse at the same time, which still makes no sense to me.  The set backs Angela endured were chronic like neutropenia (when the chemo kills the blood cells that fight off infections making cancer patients extremely weak and susceptible to any infection) and a horrible lung infection from one of her chemo drugs. 

Seeing my daughter in the hospital three times was nothing but heart breaking, but the worst time was for her lung infection in October. 

My daughter could not breathe. I was scared, so I could not fathom how she even felt. Angela was in the hospital for nearly a week because of the lung toxicity. The chemo drug had taken over 85 percent of her lungs, leading to her not being able to breathe. THEN needing to remove this drug from her chemo regiment meant another two rounds of chemo for my daughter. Before this infection… she was supposed to be done in September… now? Late November. It all seemed unfair, my kid is only 23 years old, she is bald, and extremely sick? I was pissed. 

However when we finally got to the end of Angela’s treatment, I could finally breathe again. I actually felt a weight lifted off of my shoulders. BUT the best feeling was hearing my daughter was in remission from her cancer, put simply it was pure joy. 

What gave me hope throughout all of this was seeing Angela handle everything with grace and her never ending strength. I tried to be as positive as my daughter was, almost as if I was imitating her. If she was feeling good then so was I. 

Cancer has changed my life. I can’t sweat the small stuff, even though I still do. But I try not to let small things ruin my joy. I simply believe that you need to be kind to everyone because you never know what people are going through. 

Angela taught me that she is unbelievably strong, positive, can handle anything with grace and kindness, but she still always contained her sass and spit fire attitude. She is my rock star. 

What I want to say to other people going through any hardship or adversity is to never give up hope. Pray every day. Stay positive. Surround yourself with family and friends who support you.   Everybody’s cancer journey is different, but I hope people can see Angelas journey and hold onto it to have faith that they will overcome their cancer.”

I hope you all gave this a read. It is important to know that not only just a patient is going through it, but so are their loved ones.

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