Cancer. She has Cancer. We’ve already lost several members of our family to it. How can we deal with it again? Why her- she’s only 32! The children are 12 and 14. This just can’t be happening again. But it was.
My 32 year old daughter was diagnosed with stage III-B Colorectal cancer. She went through massive surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Christmas of 2012 we believed she was not going to live to see the New Year. She was 6 foot tall, but had lost down to 82 pounds, wasn’t able to eat, barley able to drink and Hospice and Palliative Care were coming in.
She rallied, and is doing well now. She beat the odds. Yet we live with constant awareness that it could reoccur at any time. Her Doctors left us with the statement “It will most likely reoccur within the next two years. How do we live with that prediction? How do we stay positive, yet prepare for that possibility? Her health, due to the surgeries she has had, is very fragile. She cannot absorb nutrition reliably. Any minor shift in her electrolyte balance send her to the hospital.
She is my hero. She deals with it each day, caring for their teenagers and being upbeat every day. She continue to have pain – has to deal with an ostomy- keeps herself immaculate, maintains her home and is still enthusiastic about life. Her bad days, she gets through. I will get a call in the middle of the night and all I can do is listen and encourage her, let her know how much she is loved.
So what can I do to support her, as well as deal with my own feelings and issues around this genetic history? I am slowly building a strong support group for our family. We have been blessed with friends and family, plus the wonderful staff at Mercy Hospital in Springfield, MO and her local Doctor. Our church, plus others in the area have been such constant support, through it all. Visiting while she has been in hospital, taking care of our livestock while we stayed with her over the last two years, helping us with daily expenses.
There are so many things to cope with. Her illness, the other deaths in the family from cancer, which we can now link to a genetic marker, the prediction that other family members will develop this cancer, the financial devastation that comes with cancer treatment. It is a long and twisted road, but we believe that our family’s love and commitment is our strength.