Cancer has touched every family I know. Everyone has had a family member, friend, or neighbor who has dealt with or is dealing with chemotherapy, radiation, surgery or the indecision about how to treat or prevent their cancer.
One example, just a little while ago, a friend of mine shared this with me. His three beautiful young adult daughters had been diagnosed with a virulent form of breast cancer that they inherited from him. Facing this difficulty, they chose different paths. One decided to watch and wait, one decided to have a prophylactic double mastectomy, and one found a lump and after completing a double mastectomy and chemotherapy; she is undergoing radiation, and she is only thirty-two. My own life was devastated by cancer one early fall morning.
Golden, red and purple leaves covered the ground, and a crisp, sweet chill scented the air. My wife was gone helping one of our college children, his pregnant wife, and their two-year-old girl Kristy, clean up their old apartment before we drove the loaded moving truck, we had packed the night before. Across town to their new apartment. I walked out into my backyard with the rake in one hand and a large blue tarp to gather the leaves in the other. I figured I had time to rake a few leaves before I needed to meet them at the new apartment and help them unload.
I spread out the blue tarp onto the ground and started raking leaves into the center of the tarp. I heard the phone ring in the kitchen even over the scratch of the rake. I leaned the rake against the house and walked inside to answer the phone.
“Hello?” I said.
It was our son who was moving. “Dad?” he said, his voice was thin and halting.
“Is the baby coming?” I asked.
“No.” His voice quivered. “I need your help. We are at the doctor’s office. We have to take Kristy to the hospital. The doctor says it’s cancer!”
“I’m on my way.”
I hung up the phone and stumbled to a kitchen chair. My mind spinning with all sorts of questions flying through my mind. Why little Kristi? What was going to happen? How long would she live? How did this happen?
I went back to the phone and called my other sons to come and move son’s little family into their new apartment, and I rushed to the hospital. During the ride to the hospital, I tried to organize my thoughts on how I could help and what I should do.
When I arrived at their intensive care room, I saw my wife inside the room with a nurse and our little grand-daughter. A team of doctors stood to the side of the bed, hovering over our red-eyed son and pregnant daughter-in-law explaining their diagnosis. I moved next to my son and put my arm around him and tried to listen to what the doctors were saying. I will never forget what I heard:
“This is going to take a long time. Your daughter’s cancer is very acute and fairly rare. It is going to be very stressful not only for Kristi but for all of you for a long, long time. Many people in your situation end up either getting a divorce or go bankrupt, sometimes both because the treatment is very intense and expensive….”
I was just part of the support team.
A few months ago, I was eating lunch in a local restaurant and noticed a table of nurses from the hospital having lunch together. I recognized one of the nurses from my Kristi’s team.
I walked over, introduced myself and asked, “Weren’t you one of my granddaughter Kristi’s nurses?”
The nurse looked horrified, and she hesitated. I said, “Don’t worry, she is doing great.”.
Relief spread over her face and tears welled up in her eyes. “Oh, thank you for telling me. It is so nice to hear of a success story. They don’t happen very often.”
I said, “I know. We were one of the blessed ones.”
That is what this website, a www.thecureforcancer.com is all about: helping and supporting other families like ours going through what is sure to be the most challenging time of their lives. Hopefully making success stories happen more often or preventing more and more cancer stories from happening at all.