Cancer with a Side of Mashed Potatoes…

August 14, 2010

When Fiona had emergency surgery the night before Thanksgiving last year, I was in a pretty bad place. She had lost significant body weight in her first two weeks of life and her eyes were dull and listless.

My hormones were out of control from just having her and I remember leaking all over my shirt from hearing her screams as the nurses tried in vain find a place for her IV. She was extremely dehydrated however, and they had to call in a NICU nurse to finally accomplish this horrendous task. At that point I had resorted to laying on the floor in the waiting room sobbing while Patrick held her in the prep room until it was time for Fiona to go under.

During the surgery I felt like having my teeny baby girl operated on was by far the worst thing any mother could go through but I quickly gained perspective  once Fiona was in recovery. The doctors were concerned about Fiona’s immune system being practically non-existent so they put us in the pediatric cancer ward where visitors were not allowed.

Suddenly our ordeal with Fiona June seemed like a cakewalk. While Thanksgiving in a hospital is no one’s idea of a good time, the food from the cafeteria wasn’t too bad  and hopefully this was going to be the first and last holiday we would be away from our family and friends while this was old hat for many of the other children and parents in there.

At the risk of sounding Pollyana, I became profoundly grateful for our situation. Doctors had diagnosed Fi’s problem, she had surgery, and then we going to to go home get on with our lives. For many these children and families who were going through the rigors of cancer treatment, the end of treatment was barely in sight. I heard mothers talk to their other children on the phone wishing them a happy Thanksgiving because they could not be together- common germs were bad news for these kids who were undergoing treatment and thus their siblings and family members other than parents weren’t allowed to visit.

The mothers and fathers I spoke with were exhausted from heartbreak that I am sure seemed endless. I recalled with painful clarity the devastation I had felt in the waiting room the night before and couldn’t imagine what it could possibly be like to go through that for days that would turn into weeks which would then become months.

This is why I am running: so the babies, and the mommies and daddies who suffer with them, can spend the holidays with their families because a cure is found. Please donate, even a dollar…


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