World Cancer Day? What does it mean to you?

This day has crept up on me. Today I have probably said the word cancer at least 5 times.. that’s 5 times too many.  Cancer has been a part of my daily thoughts and concerns for a long time. Whether it was when my mom got breast cancer when I was in college or when my cousin Candy died on her birthday, or when I found out I have the BRAC 1 gene, it’s been apart of my adult life.. and now even more so these days.. with friends children getting cancer and some even loosing their battle.

Ironically, I am currently redesigning the pediatric ICU lounge for families at the University Of Chicago Comer’s Children Hospital for Atia’s Project Lady Bug. We are under construction this week and it is should be done next week sometime.. Thru this process I’ve learned a little more about the struggles families go thru while battling cancer. It’s tougher than any of us could imagine.. Not only are these families fighting for their child’s life but they are also sleeping in chairs and washing their clothes in the sinks for weeks at a time without ever leaving the hospital or their child’s side.

Project Lady Bug has done a great thing by creating these amazing bags filled with little items that help relieve the basic daily stress that only add to the over all hard time these children have while getting treatment.. and of course they add fun things to these bags as well.. It’s not just laundry detergent and microwavable plates.. Every lady bug bag is filled with so much love it’s an amazing thing to witness them being given to patients and their families.

The real reason I’m writing this blog isn’t so I can tell you all the things I’m doing for pediatric cancer.. it’s to share with you the fear I have as a new mom and the stories of the loved ones around me fighting for their lives.

Before I had Ransom I prayed to God my child would be healthy and would not get pediatric cancer. We are blessed with a child who has only had 2 colds in his short 10 month life.. I think that’s a pretty good record so far. However,more and more children and friends that we are close to are getting sick with cancer and it’s devastating.

On this very same day of World Cancer Day a girl I know has a 3 month old baby who is receiving his first Chemo treatment at UNC Children’s hospital. He has already had two brain surgeries to remove a tumor and to put in a shunt. This sweet baby boy Liam is a miracle and is fighting tonight for his life.. I hold Ransom tighter when I rock him now in the middle of the night and the fact that he STILL wakes up for a bottle doesn’t bother me one bit.. I cry and pray for this young mom and her baby who is going thru so much pain.. Why them? Why brain cancer? What causes such a rare and devastating cancer in a 3 month old ? What could this baby have been exposed to? Nothing makes sense of this.

Another friend lost her sweet son Joey this past year also to brain cancer. It’s not fair and there is no understanding of how this can happen to such innocent pure little children who have barely experienced the life they were meant to live. JMan was an exceptional child who was the CEO of his own company at his young age when he passed away. I also pray for his family he left behind and pray they find peace. There is no comfort you can give a mom who has lost a child.

Currently another friend is battling colon cancer. He WILL win his fight and come thru this journey on the other side even stronger. His wonderful wife Megan is by his side constantly and he has an amazing support network that lifts him up and carries him thru this hard time..

All these people and their children have amazing support and treatment. But WHY? Why do sooo many people and babies have cancer.. I don’t remember one person when I was young having cancer other than my grandmother and now I can name at least 25 people and children I know that are either fighting cancer , have survived cancer or have recently lost their life to it. Two families, Atia’s and Joey’s both had a parent with cancer as well as the child. Now that to me makes me ask… What is happening to our world? Are we exposed to more chemicals? Radiation from the power plant explosion in China?? I know some people that won’t eat anything out of China or buy any products from China these days. It makes me wonder..  What is happening in our world that is creating more cancer? Food? GMO’s? Cleaning chemicals? I’m afraid to touch or consume anything for fear we might all come down with cancer.. But you can’t live in fear. So at what point do we not think about it and let it go? Is that responsible?

Having my own cancer gene I look at my sweet baby and wonder if I have passed this gene on to him? How will the BRAC1 gene affect him I ask my self? Will he get cancer one day?Will he want to be tested for his own Brac 1 gene when he is older?  The future possibility of breast or prostate cancer for Ransom is terrifying. However I have to remind myself that tomorrow is there for a reason so I can live for today and worry about tomorrow another day.. Today I pray for those friends who are fighting cancer and for those whose babies are either fighting or have lost their battle..

I’m not sure what World Cancer Day is really supposed to mean but to me its a day to reflect on how this horrible disease has affected the loved ones around us and how we can make a difference to help others going thru this.

Check out Atia’s Project Lady Bug and get involved.. Their big bash at The Drake hotel in Chicago is coming up soon.. March 13th. Hope all my Chicago peeps can make it and participate.

Thanks for letting me share my fears and concerns as a new mom and my friends stories. They could all use your prayers tonight on World Cancer day. Hug your loved one tighter.. and tell them how much you love them.. Don’t hesitate.. Cancer does not discriminate.

One response to “World Cancer Day? What does it mean to you?

  1. My Family has been touched by Cancer too. My Mom and Dad both died of Cancer five months apart from each other. My beloved older sister died in August from Lymphoma. I’ve lost 3 sisters in law to Cancer, an ex-husband to Cancer. Two Brothers in law died from Cancer. My baby brother and his wife both battled different cancers at the same time…..both beat Cancer. It’s decimated my family. I do think that’s what will take me one day. I have three kids…..two of them smoke….the boys……my daughter never did it. It drives me CRAZY that they smoke. The oldest lost his father to lung cancer at 43. My son took care of him until he died. I smoked three packs a day for years but quit 25 years ago cold turkey and have not smoked one cigarette since then so I know it can be done. My sons tell me they can quit anytime they want to……yet they don’t. When we have children we become hostages to fortune. Nothing can put us down the way losing a child for any reason can. You just have to see that your son is as healthy as he can be. Make sure he eats and develops a taste for vegetables and watch the sugar. Don’t let anybody smoke around him. Just love him and savor everyday as much as you can. We cannot live life in constant fear…..that’s not living. I wish I knew why there is so much cancer…..I too didn’t hear of many people getting cancer when I was a kid but I’m 70 ….back in my youth people were ashamed of having cancer. They didn’t tell people they had it……it was whispered about……nobody talked out loud about cancer. Maybe that’s why we think there’s so much of it now…..we were ignorant back in the old days. You’re a great Mom……your baby will be fine. You have awareness and knowledge….that’s important.

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