Friday, September 2, 2016
CHILDHOOD CANCER MONTH, SEPTEMBER...
Some may not know I am a childhood cancer survivor.
I beat a cancer at 5 years old that was incurable.
Every September, I am reminded by media
CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS MONTH
Back in 1968, there was no internet or all the media
of today to announce to the world I had cancer.
There were no money jars, no walks to raise money,
only people who knew I was fighting to live
was my immediate family and my little town
of Golden Meadow.
Being 5, I should have been having fun in
kindergarten, making new friends,
instead my parents older to have a 5 year old,
and my siblings were scared beyond belief
to find out I would most assuredly loose
a kidney and probably my life but if my
parent gave this Dr. Fisherman all medical
rights to their little girl, he did not think he
could save me but he could hopefully find a cure
and save others after me.
Of course I knew none of this.
I only knew that I was sick and the medications
they gave me made me sicker.
Let me tell you what the child inside of me remembers
I remember being in what was called a "ward" back then
a long hall with many baby bed and tiny beds with
only curtains separating us.
Back then parents weren't allowed to stay with
their children. So still to this day there
is a certain time of day, the light will come through
the window at around 6pm and the nighttime
news was on our few tv's we shared between
a ward full of kids,
and I can still here the cries of babies and
children wanting their parents, their loved ones.
Being a nurse now, I still can't think of why
they thought in 1968 the best way to treat sickness in
children was to send their parents home at night.
For me, even though the crying made me some nights
cry, I knew my Mommy or Daddy or an older adult
sibling was waiting in the waiting room.
Because my Daddy let the hospital know on day one,
He did not care what the rules were, he was not
leaving his baby girl alone, ever.
I knew once all the other parents were gone and
the nurses had made their rounds, this one sweet nurse
would let my parent back in.
I didn't mind that my parent or whomever was staying
with me that night I am sure rocked many
other peoples children. I knew I was not alone.
Then their was the practice of the
parents were not allowed in that room either.
So of course, we children cried and screamed
for our Mommy's and daddy's.
I know, now being a nurse that the things done in
that room were necessary but the route they
did it was in humane.
Once we got in there and we cried or kicked
they held us down and did and IV change,
marked us for radiation and there were threats
"If you don't stop crying you won't have your mail"
Mail was a big deal when you are in the hospital
for 8 weeks. "We won't let your mommy spend the
night if you don't stop crying"
I know my 53 year old mind only remembers what
a 5 year old mind can remember but so much has changed.
Once my kidney was removed I still could not
go home but I was now in a room with only two other
children and parents could stay.
I know now it was probably because
we were very sick or on the
"gunna die" list.
Either way, I was glad my family was with me.
My niece, Tiffany was two and a half
and my favorite visitor besides my sister, Celena.
I was rotten, I knew being sick I could pretty much
get away with anything. I didn't know the reason was
because I probably had only a few more months
with them. Growing up, my parents did not tell
me much and treated me like everyone else even
though they thought my time was limited.
It is because of this treatment that I grew up
and never used the cancer as a crutch.
Because of this I am a nurse,
Now as an adult, I have issues because of
the radiation given to me. too much was given
but I am not bitter, they thought I would die
and it is probably that treatment that kept me alive.
Yet some days are not so great. I try and act
like my parent brought me up, not to use
the cancer as a crutch but on a bad day it's hard.
Anyway, I write this not wanting sympathy
but to pay tribute to September as Childhood cancer
month and to bring awareness to the few adults in
the world still alive from childhood cancer.
I know my cancer had a lot to do with who I am now.
I know there are few to compare me to as most have passed,
On a bad day filled with pain from radiation to my back,
I may get pouty but I know without that treatment I
would have just been a name in the family,
"the little girl who died from cancer"
Instead I am Lilly.
A retired nurse who gave 30 years to the field.
I am Lilly
the mother of two beautiful children who I was told I
would never have.
I am Lilly,
Mumsie to three grand girls who are amazing.
I am Lilly ,
who loves people, people watching, giving to others,
I am Lilly
who likes to laugh and do silly things to make others laugh.
I am Lilly
who still loves toys especially miniature ones.
I am Lilly,
one of the lucky, saved by new wave meds at the time
and loved by older siblings and family, to health.
I am Lilly,
praying for all those little sweet children
who fight the battle in the month
of childhood cancer awareness,