Recently the mother of a cancer patient shared with me some thoughts about her daughter’s treatment. Together we worked to put those thoughts into this letter to her daughter, which she shares with us today.
It seems like only yesterday that I sat watching you accept your 6th grade diploma. My eyes clouded with proud tears as I simultaneously mourned the passing of slipping years. One moment I was kissing your “owies” and playing patty cake – the next moment you were plunging into womanhood.
I know it’s a little selfish, but I wanted you to be my little girl forever. I wanted to worry and hover over the busyness of childhood. It may sound silly, but I was looking forward to worrying with you about Junior High boys and staying up late with Algebra and ice cream.
Who could have imagined that my nights would be filled with a haunting worry of how you’d survive cancer treatments? Who’d have imagined that I’d watch my little girl suffer a hell that no child should endure?
Never did I want to imagine that I’d be holding your soul in my arms as you mourned the loss of your hair and watched your dreams disappear into the blackest of midnights known as chemotherapy and radiation.
Never did I dare imagine that you’d spend every third week of 40 weeks, ingesting the poison of chemo, flushing your lines, taking untold shots and swallowing 80 pills a day. Never did I imagine that you’d outline this torture with the grace of a woman and the innocent heart of a child — only to be born again out of your pain.
Never could I know that you’d approach this treacherous journey with unimaginable bravery, doing all you could to shield us from your fear and pain. Yet, you should know that even brave people get weary. For even as you continued your brave march, I could see in your well-worn face that you wanted nothing more than to win this fight and come home.
Never did I imagine knowing a day when my teenage daughter’s biggest dream would not be for material things, but to take regular showers and blow-dry your newly grown hair. The fact that you’ve just one more treatment to complete gives me the most indescribable presence of joy that I’ve known in my heart since the cold shutter of fear first shattered our world last year.
I know the journey has seemed unimaginable, but I’m finally allowing myself to imagine the most beautiful light at the end of our tunnel. And it’s light that finds you center stage. It’s a light that shines on a regularly wonderful kid who is playing video games, going to school and, yes, even finding some joy in homework.
No one will ever imagine how happy I’ll be to see you complete this amazing journey and hear that your final test in two weeks will declare you cancer free. Yet, I know there is no insurance, so I pray with everything that I am, that you’ll never repeat such torture. I hold in the depths of my heart a prayer that you’ll walk through life appreciating the gifts bestowed upon you.
Adriana, we’ve been so fortunate to have friends who have been our guiding light, our hope when we felt there was none, our angels, and even the hands of God. We could have never lived through this year without their love and prayers. You are proof to me that the world really is a good place and there really are wonderful people whose giving comes straight from their heart.
With Much Love,
Your mother and best friend.
Adriana’s mom asked me for one more thing. “Being the greedy gal that I am,” she said, “I am going to ask for one last prayer for Adriana. We’ve been told that she will never be out of the woods until she’s cancer free for over 5 years. Please pray that the tests find her to be in perfect health and that she flies through the 5 years without a trace of cancer. This is my fondest prayer.”