OT-My daughter is graduating today, against the odds

annalexandria
annalexandria Member Posts: 2,571

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

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Comments

  • Sundanceh
    Sundanceh Member Posts: 4,392 Member
    A Truly Heartwarming Story...

    What makes me really happy about this story is the fact that you were "dialed-in" to your children's needs and insecurities, even though you were undergoing your own personal trials.

    Children do look towards their parents for many things....

    What a turnaround!  And tonight, you celebrate a moment that you had wondered about....I'm so glad for you both...and may you have all the years there possibly are:)

    You 'done' good, honey!

    Thanks for sharing this story as I'm sure it will resonate with the other parents out there, who may have experienced something similar to what you described.  I think this could be a hotbed for good discussion - how children react and what they think and fear when their parents are in active treatment.

    Anyway, just wonderful and enjoy your evening!

    And I think I get which one is yours:) 

  • jen2012
    jen2012 Member Posts: 1,607 Member
    Funny how Craig reads my
    Funny how Craig reads my mind..was going to start a post about this. Had a bad night and many tears with my 15 1/2 yr old last night. Cant wait for the school to be done. Your post really hit home AA and I am so happy for you that you can celebrate with your daughter. Enjoy the night and the excitement. Congrats!
  • Sundanceh
    Sundanceh Member Posts: 4,392 Member
    jen2012 said:

    Funny how Craig reads my
    Funny how Craig reads my mind..was going to start a post about this. Had a bad night and many tears with my 15 1/2 yr old last night. Cant wait for the school to be done. Your post really hit home AA and I am so happy for you that you can celebrate with your daughter. Enjoy the night and the excitement. Congrats!

    "See'r of See'rs"

    Cool

    I'm sorry for your rough night, Jen...something about the nights that can make us all come unhinged...

  • YoVita
    YoVita Member Posts: 590
    Thank you for posting this AA

    Your daughter's expression says it all - such joy!  Congratulations to you both.  You're a great mom to have been there for her during your own serious struggles.  

  • Momof2plusteentwins
    Momof2plusteentwins Member Posts: 509 Member
    Love the Picture!!!!
    I am so happy things are going great for you and your family. It is nice reading stories like this. I hpoe to make it to my twin boys graduation, they will be Juniors this year. Have a great night tonight!!!
    Sandy:)
  • wolfen
    wolfen Member Posts: 1,324

    Love the Picture!!!!
    I am so happy things are going great for you and your family. It is nice reading stories like this. I hpoe to make it to my twin boys graduation, they will be Juniors this year. Have a great night tonight!!!
    Sandy:)

    A True Fighter

    Ann,

    You can be proud that you have raised a true fighter, just like yourself. High schools is hard, even in the best of circumstances. She was travelling her own unknown road and trying to travel yours at the same time. She has shown the strength that you have instilled in her.

    Please let her know that your CSN family will be right there in the audience cheering for her when she receives that diploma.

    Luv,

    Wolfen

  • Chelsea71
    Chelsea71 Member Posts: 1,169
    For some reason your post
    For some reason your post caused me start bawling. Not sure why. I guess I'm just so impressed with all you've overcome and so happy that you are able to enjoy this happy occasion. You're daughter looks like a great kid. Congratulations to you both. Enjoy the ceremony.

    Chels
  • tachilders
    tachilders Member Posts: 313
    This makes me realize how

    This makes me realize how much stress my daughter has probably been under this past year (freshman year of HS) and how lucky we are that she has done quite well (high honors). Luckily I have done very well so far with my treatments which may have helped but I truly thank you for opening my eyes on this. Only the best for your daughter and your whole family. 

    Tedd

  • Cathleen Mary
    Cathleen Mary Member Posts: 827

    This makes me realize how

    This makes me realize how much stress my daughter has probably been under this past year (freshman year of HS) and how lucky we are that she has done quite well (high honors). Luckily I have done very well so far with my treatments which may have helped but I truly thank you for opening my eyes on this. Only the best for your daughter and your whole family. 

    Tedd

    Congrats!!!

     

    What a great kid!  What an amazing Mom!!!

    Enjoy!

    Cathleen Mary

  • johnsnowden
    johnsnowden Member Posts: 20
    wonderful story

    completely 'on'-topic!

    beautifully wriiten, thank you so much for sharing.

    john

  • maglets
    maglets Member Posts: 2,576
    aa

    this is such am important topic for so many of us.  My daughter lost her 4th year of university the year that I was diagnosed.  These poor kids go through such pain and such worry ......good for you for posting the topic AA

    ....your beautiful daughter.....her joyous face says so much.  Indeed wonderful mom wonderful daughter

    thanks aa

    mags

  • Trubrit
    Trubrit Member Posts: 5,643 Member
    Fantastic!

    What a wonderful blessing for you and your family. 

    The picture is great also. I love pictures and think we need to take more. 

    Congratulations to the both of you, and to those around you. 

  • barbebarb
    barbebarb Member Posts: 464
    Trubrit said:

    Fantastic!

    What a wonderful blessing for you and your family. 

    The picture is great also. I love pictures and think we need to take more. 

    Congratulations to the both of you, and to those around you. 

    Thank you
    Thank you for sharing. This hit home with me having two young adults living with me.
    Great accomplishment and enjoy celebrating.
    My daughter has come around and finally started being supportive. My son has beared the stress of her attitude while dealing with my uncertainty with this illnesses twists and turns.
    I am happy for you and your family!
    Enjoy :-)
    Love the picture, too.
    Barb
  • AnnLouise
    AnnLouise Member Posts: 276
    How proud you must be.......

    Enjoy tonight and celebrate being a wonderful mom and having a daughter who definitely hasn't given up. 

    It is so heartwarming and emotional to see them walking in their cap and gown.

    Love the picture......you did a good job!     ~ Ann

     

     

  • lizdeli
    lizdeli Member Posts: 569
    AnnLouise said:

    How proud you must be.......

    Enjoy tonight and celebrate being a wonderful mom and having a daughter who definitely hasn't given up. 

    It is so heartwarming and emotional to see them walking in their cap and gown.

    Love the picture......you did a good job!     ~ Ann

     

     

    Awesome!

    What a heartwarming story of love, from all angles!  You have to be beaming with pride!  What a beautiful gift she has given you!

    Blessings,

    Liz

  • Kathleen808
    Kathleen808 Member Posts: 2,342 Member
    Celebrate

    I celebrate with you my friend!   Your daughter is a strong woman (I think I know who she gets it from).  I just love that she is graduating and you are here to enjoy and celebrate with her.

    Aloha,

    Kathleen

  • wawaju04976
    wawaju04976 Member Posts: 316
    I'm sure cancer, while being

    I'm sure cancer, while being so very tough for her growing up, has taught her so many valuable lessons she will take  with her all her life. You have done a wonderful job raising her, given all the circumstances. Every negative, be it cancer, alcoholism, etc. can be an invaluable lesson for kids!!!

    <3 Judy

  • tanstaafl
    tanstaafl Member Posts: 1,300 Member
    hear, hear

    Congratulations Ann. Your kids really need you.  Glad you can be there for them.  

     

  • Goldie1
    Goldie1 Member Posts: 264 Member
    That pic...

    and smile, really made my day!  Congrats to all!

    Ellen

  • annalexandria
    annalexandria Member Posts: 2,571
    Chelsea71 said:

    For some reason your post
    For some reason your post caused me start bawling. Not sure why. I guess I'm just so impressed with all you've overcome and so happy that you are able to enjoy this happy occasion. You're daughter looks like a great kid. Congratulations to you both. Enjoy the ceremony.

    Chels

    I cried too,

    when I wrote it.  I think I decided to write this part of our life down simply because normally I try not to think too much about the hit my kids have taken from cancer.  This was my way of addressing it a bit before we went to graduation...didn't want to collapse in a weepy puddle.  Although I did anyway when the principal mentioned students who had turned themselves around and gone from "Ds to Bs" (although as Joanna pointed out, she went from Es to As, so there!).

    The impact on our kids is the hardest part, by far.  Hugs to you, Chels