First, a dear friend of ours (age 30) was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma…while she was pregnant. After much debate and research, she opted to postpone treatment to give her second child a chance to stay in utero as long as possible. She made it to thirty-six weeks and gave birth to a healthy baby boy in January. Roughly a week later, she started treatment…and promptly shaved her head to celebrate.
Through it all, she has exhibited graciousness, a sense of humor and a fighting spirit. She has been very open about what she faces, sharing with her friends and family just what it was like facing such difficult decisions regarding the pregnancy, her treatment, and so forth. She decided early on to document her story via blog, sharing her experiences and providing advice to others who might be in a similar situation. Reading her stories, I know she is going to win this battle!
Still, she moved to Pittsburgh last summer, and it has been difficult reading through her situation wanting to help. Her initial announcement left us absolutely reeling, as she is younger than both of us. All we can do is root her on during this battle of hers, send prayers, donations, and well-wishes. The feeling of impotence is dreadful.
Then, I find out that high school friends of mine, who got together after high school and ended up getting married, have a twenty-month old son with AML, or acute myeloblastic leukemia, a very aggressive form of the disease. Again, it felt like a blow to my solar plexus when I heard the news. They too have a blog, and the very first post I read brought me to tears. No child should ever have to go through all that. As a parent, I cannot imagine the fears and the worry they are experiencing, although I have been told they have been amazingly strong and extremely positive. Living in a different state than them, there is not much I can do to help them out other than to register to be a bone marrow donor or donate to a trust fund they have in their son’s name.
Again, this feeling of helplessness at not being able to do much is horrible. So is the fact that I was complaining about my own (healthy) children before I got the news. I cannot help but be thankful that I do have two amazingly healthy children as well as my own health. I also cannot help but feel guilty that I have so much and others are tested to their limits. Sometimes, life just is not fair.
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