Jun 11, 2013 - 1:21 pm
Well, maybe it's not entirely off topic! My middle child started high school the same week I had my first surgery. I had been sick, really, scary-sick, for months. I went to the hospital via a 911 call, in agonizing pain, and completely missed her first day of school. Two weeks later we learned I had cancer. Because my sister had died four years previously, my kid had an understanding of cancer that not every young person has (thank goodness). Her first year of hs was dominated by my illness...the terrible effects of treatment and surgery, recurrence, and the looming fear of my death. Maybe not surprisingly, she failed a lot of classes that year, and spent a lot of time being angry and depressed.
We started her sophmore year in similar fashion, another trip to ER, another huge surgery, and the news of yet another recurrence, this one looking even more serious. My kid...well, she just kind of crumbled. She told me on many occasions that she simply didn't care about anything, that school held no meaning for her. She couldn't see a future for herself, because there was a distinct chance that I wouldn't be in it. One time she told me that she would kill herself if I died. She failed more classes and it was looking more and more unlikely that she would graduate on time, if at all.
But then we got a break. Two more recurrences, but both were small, didn't require so much hospital time. I gave up on chemo, which wasn't the greatest of news at the time, but it did mean I felt better, and my daughter didn't have to see me suffer so much. She started to do a little better in school and decided she was willing to put in the time outside of school to make up some credits.
She got to have me reasonably healthy and in a state of NED for half of her junior year and all of her senior year, and holy cow...what a difference that made! She began to talk about what she might like to do in the future (marine biologist or dermatologist...say what?), and really buckled down at school.
She got straight As this year, while working part time. She won a design contest for a pamplet she made in her marketing class. She was voted "Most Changed" by her classmates (which she took as kind of an insult but it really was accurate). I just got done cooking a graduation day breakfast for her and a friend this morning, and tonight I get to watch her walk to get her diploma.
Cancer tried its best to take down me, and by extension my family, but in this case, it failed. No way to know what the future holds, but for tonight, I'm going to be happy and hopeful that cancer didn't manage to steal my daughter's future.
And here's a pic of her volunteering at an event at the YMCA. That's not the face of a kid who has given up. Lots o' love~AA