As parents we do everything we can for our children. We try to teach them (when they’ll listen) and try to show them what our parents taught us. We kiss their boo boos because we make them feel safe. A lot of parenting has to do with making them feel safe, comfortable and warm. When my baby was 2, he was diagnosed with Cancer and I felt like I had failed him as a mother because I had failed to keep him safe.
I was lost. Up until then, whenever I was unsure what to do, I would turn to my husband because he is my rock. This time, he was lost too. He didn’t know what to do either. I mean, what do you do when your baby has cancer?
I remember the first time my husband and I went to Cancer Patient Services. We met Joanne and she took us back into this little room that was filled with wigs. There were wigs of all different shapes, sizes, colors, styles, and lengths.
What sticks with me was that she had this very compassionate and reassuring smile. We went to fill out paperwork, but it wasn’t like buying a house where you sign so much that your hand goes numb. It was more of a social visit (with a little bit of papers on the side). It was more like meeting a friends, with a signature.
She listened; we told her about Wesley, Robbie, Keithie, and ourselves. We talked about the diagnosis, but we also just talked about life in general. She gave us pamphlets that outlined, all these different services and supports that they offer. And she asked us, "How can we help?"
Cancer Patient Services defined our cancer journey. They were our beacon when we were lost.
There are a lot of non-profit organizations out there. I don’t want to down play any of them because I think whenever anyone stands up to try and help another human being that’s going through a rough time, it’s worth celebrating.
Still, I can say that the difference with Cancer Patient Services is that you know when you walk through their doors, that they care. You feel love, compassion, and encouragement. You feel a little bit stronger when you walk into Cancer Patient Services. At a time in your life when you need every ounce of strength that you have; they help you to feel stronger.
You are not just paperwork. You are a friend (with a little paperwork on the side).
Wesley was two when he was diagnosed. He was considered “High Risk.” His treatment lasted 3 and a half years.
For 3 and a half years we dragged our son back and forth to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus. That’s a 2 hour drive from here; Cancer Patient Services provided the gas.
For 3 and a half years, we dealt with fighting to get our baby to eat because the chemo hurt his stomach. Cancer Patient Services provided chocolate ensure (he likes chocolate).
For 3 and a half years we tried to cope with the emotional strain of trying to raise our children and live our lives, while our baby was going through treatment. Cancer Patient Services provided emotional support.
For 3 and a half years. Wesley was 2 when he was diagnosed, so 3 and a half years later (when he was 6), Wesley had been going through cancer treatment for the majority of his life.
Cancer Patient Services was there the entire time. From the first time we walked into their office and met Joanne (and her reassuring smile), the entire 3 and a half years of treatment, and even today. Wesley has been cancer free for 4 years and we are still feel part of the Cancer Patient Services family.
When you donate to Cancer Patient Services you are giving hope to your neighbors, your friends and family within our community. Carol Metzger, Joanne Reinhart and the entire CPS staff expertly help local families navigate through the toughest fight of their lives. However, they cannot do it alone. Just as families like mine rely on Cancer Patient Services, CPS relies on donations. Now is your opportunity to directly impact a very worthy local charity, and the lives of those around you who are struggling and need the help that this wonderful organization provides.
I would like to close by quoting one of the most intelligent people I know, my son Wesley. I asked him if there is anything I should tell you and he said, “The people that work there are nice and they have good priorities.”
Written by: Guest Blogger Kristina Rodman