Her writing this was hard. Not that writing is hard, but it is emotional hard to share something you have held so close to your heart. My daughter, bless her heart, doesn't often share these emotions with me - she doesn't want me to worry and doesn't want to make me more stressed. (That's not to say she doesn't talk to me about other things, because she does and I love it)
But when it comes to the cancer, she is often tight-lipped. I hate that, but also know where she is coming from so I don't press too hard and try to suggest other people she can talk to if she wants to.
My daughter is a smart girl, a typical oldest child, and has had to bear too much in her life. This piece is heart-breaking to me in so many ways. But also makes me so proud of her for sharing this. She is brave and strong, but I hope she also learns that being strong means you are allowed to cry. Anyway, here is her piece.
|Last week, on her 14th bday|
In May my mom had a double mastectomy. We had to turn our dinning room into a bedroom for her because she couldn't walk up the stairs. We were homeschooled and my mom was our teacher. Often days she would be too sick to teach us so we had to try and do all of our work ourselves. That coming school year my mom was too sick to teach my brother who was going into kindergarden. So we enrolled my little brother in school, and on the first day of school my mom was having chemo done so she couldn't even take him to the bus stop or help him get ready. My sister and I had to help my brother on the bus a lot as my mom was too sick or at a doctors appointment.
At one point I went to a sleep away summer camp with my cousin and everyday I was worried that my mom wasn't getting everything she needed or that my brother and sister were at home and couldn't get dinner because no one was there.
Now my dad had it the hardest. He had to take care of my sister, brother, my mom, and me while having a full time job where he often had to work extra hours. When my mom finished chemo she had to start radiation. Radiation makes you very sick and unable to most things. So my mom was in bed a lot during radiation treatment. Then finally in November she was done! And everything was okay.
|Her with on her fav softball players|
Then came this year my mom had found an organization called Camp Kesem. Kesem is a camp for kids who's parents had cancer. And finally I had found a place where people were just like me. Because though we had tons of support which I am thankful for, there was no one just like me. And I can't even tell you how tired I was of hearing "god bless you poor little soul" or "don't worry everything will work out in the end". Because none of these people understood what I was going through.
I am not a big crier. I just don't do it. When I got Kesem I was afraid it was going to be yet another place I felt alienated from everyone else and that all the counselors were going to be like everyone else. But that's not what happened. I met a lot of great kids my age who had gone through what I had.
Then one Wednesday night at camp they had a ceremony where we sat in the gym area in a big circle and had the opportunity to tell our story. Going into this ceremony I was thinking it was going to be stupid and everyone was telling me you're going to cry, its so sad. They had a rain stick that they would pass around and when you had it you get to talk. Now, I didn't really know anyone's story and they didn't know mine. So I did not expect what happened to happen.
They asked who wanted to start. And a little 7 or 8 year old raised his hand. They handed him the rain stick and he said my daddy died of cancer. That was very hard on me because my brother was 7 and here this little boy was whose dad had died! And then it kept going around until it got to me. Now I was already crying and then they handed it to me and I had intended to talk, but I just couldn't. I burst into tears and counselors immediately started surrounding me. But me being stubborn I intended to talk and share my story. So I moved to where the rain stick was being passed around and I waited.
The girl behind was talking about how her mother had died, and again she was the age of my little sister which only made me cry more. And finally I got the rain stick again and told my story and after words I started bawling, or as my would say ugly crying. Then the camp psychiatrist brought me out to the hall where a couple other kids who crying just as bad as I was were. And she let me talk about why I was angry and what made me so insecure.
I hadn't talked to anyone and it felt so good. I told how my grandma had cancer at 30 and my mom got it at 31 and I was afraid it was genetic and my little brother or sister would get it and their kids would have to go through the same thing as we did. An then my sister came and we just held each other and cried for a long time.
Camp ended and we went back home and didn't want to tell anyone what happened and how I broke down. And then in October I found out that my mom needed iron treatments because she was low. And they had tried giving her iron before but she kept having allergic reactions to it. And the last time she had a respiratory reaction, which I didn't really understand, but I knew it was bad. She came home and really sick for a couple of days and they decided they couldn't give her the treatments anymore. Which was bad because she needed it.
And now I'm here and I hope everything gets better from now on.
A few notes from mom: radiation shouldn't have been that bad, we didn't know I had an underlying infection - that is what kicked my butt (and caused that surgery I had that Dec).
Camp Kesem is an amazing organization. Their website is here if you want to learn more about them!