age 29 | Childhood cancer survivor (Kidney & Lung cancer)
Submitted by mom, Deborah:
I am lighting up for my daughter. In 1997 when she was getting her physical to start school, my daughter Jessica was diagnosed with kidney cancer, that had spread -she also had multiple small metastatic nodules in both lungs. Like all other parents, we were in disbelief. She was supposed to start kindergarten, a new chapter in her life. Instead, it began a whole new story.
The chapters now included surgeries, chemo, and radiation. Besides adjusting our lives, we had to explain to her that she couldn’t start school yet, had to have surgeries, start some yucky medicine, go to the doctors a lot, and lose her hair. (that was hard… she was a nice mixture of tom-boy and prissy little girl who loved her strawberry blond curly hair) She called her tumor a “Rock” if anyone asked her about it, she told them the doctors and nurses were going to “crush it to make it go away.” I was amazed at how well she adjusted, she was afraid, but rarely ( after the first long stay in the hospital) would she get upset. She lost her hair but adjusted, she had side effects, she couldn’t go to birthday parties, but didn’t ask why.
Even though I have a large family who was always available and was a huge support, had it not been for ASK, it would have been Unbearable. When things were good or bad, they were there, the chaplain kept my husband grounded, (Thank goodness) I knew I could call any of the ASK team for advice, or a shoulder to lean on. I am very proud of her, she matured a lot as a 5-year-old. She made friends in clinic, became active in functions for ASK, and formed a bond with her “ cancer survivor friends “that will be with her forever. But..when she loses a friend to this horrible disease, it sets her back a little, she worries about the “ what if’s, and why’s, but picks herself back up The picture is Jessica today!