September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. You may ask yourself, “What does that mean to me?” Well last year, I would have asked myself the same question…until my daughter, Cadia, was diagnosed with B-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at the age of 9 in August of 2016.
CANCER – it’s such a scary word for both children and adults.
In the U.S., 15,780 children under the age of 21 are diagnosed with cancer every year. When she had complained about knee and leg pain we thought it was growing pains and our doctor thought so as well. But when it had her crying every night and wouldn’t stop, we knew something was wrong and a blood test confirmed it. Other signs are bloody noses and lots of bruising, but she had none of that. We had to have her admitted to the hospital the next morning. My husband and I did our best to put on a brave front so that we would not scare her or her twin sister but we were scared ourselves.
We told her we had to take her to the hospital for tests and we were told she would have to be there for at least ten days. She was scared, she had never had to be in the hospital for anything so she did not know what to expect. But the nurses and child life specialists at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital were great with her. After ten days she came home and we started to try and adjust to a new norm with clinic and treatments and hospital stays and medications that would be necessary over the next two years.
Cadia has shown a tremendous amount of strength and courage through this and her twin sister, Carmen, has been right there by her side.
She still has a long road of treatment ahead of her, but we are hoping the worst is behind us. We are excited for her to be able to start 6th grade with her sister and be able to get back to a normal childhood again.
So, this has been a roller coaster ride up to this point. And I am sure there will be lots more dips and loops as she continues treatment for the next few years. But we are in a much better place than we were a year ago. Our family now knows what Childhood Cancer Awareness Month means to us – it means strength and support, it means love and courage, it means laughter and tears and it means friends and family.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month – attend a fundraiser, make a donation, wear a ribbon or simply say a prayer. For more information on how you can raise awareness go to https://www.acco.org.
Because kids can’t fight cancer alone.
Read More Crowns of Courage Experiences
I found a lump in my breast doing a self check. It was the beginning of June and I felt a very large lump. I knew right away it was cancer, just a gut feeling.
My advice for others going through cancer is to have a great support system and choose to be thankful in each moment and each day focus on the positive.
It’s hard to feel pretty with scars on the side of my neck and chest from biopsies and my port, so it was nice to have an afternoon of makeup and henna.