Relapse

Traveling the cancer journey with your child is long, painful, and often a roller coaster of humongous ups and downs. If your child is fortunate enough to get through treatment, they can begin to heal from the side effects–both physical and emotional.  The family also works on healing from the traumatic stress. For three years, give or take depending on the type of cancer, you have battled for your child’s life–always in reaction mode.  Now that’s done and you are given high hopes that if your child remains cancer free for five years, it’s considered remission.  Nothing to worry about, right?

Five years is a long time to wait and that small fear of relapse is always in the back of your mind.  Is joint pain just joint pain, a cold just a cold, or a headache just a headache? Many families have experienced the diagnosis of relapse and have been yanked back into a world they prayed was left behind.

As I scanned through Facebook, I came upon a status from an amazing woman who I met after Nick passed.  Nancy used her creative talent to give back after her son was doing well.  She created and produced a CD that is given to children with cancer.  The melodies are beautifully healing.  Her son, Zach, was just rediagnosed at age 10 after four years of hope.  In the positive manner that children possess, Zach told his mom that this time would be shorter.  This time.  He already knows what’s in store (although hopefully he doesn’t remember a lot). However, Zach doesn’t let cancer get him down.  He holds his family up with the strength and maturity that a 10-year-old should not need to have.

But like every cancer kid, Zach wants to deal with the cancer and get on with his life.  He wants to be a kid and swim with his friends.  So Zach has begun another cancer journey and if you’d like to follow his story and send him encouraging notes, please visit his website at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/zacharyswart

Zach we wish you the best and know that you will beat this disease and be cancer free. 

Fight to be Healed!

Zach in his dad’s fire gear.

Teens Helping Teens Fight Cancer

Friday, June 8 was the Relay for Life at the Shenendehowa High School’s Track field.  Nick’s Round Table, a teen advisory group, was in charge of the Fight Back segment of the evening at 11:15pm.  25 teens were lined up the steps of the bleachers and one by one they held up a photo of a sibling, a friend, or a classmate who either lost their battle with cancer or was still fighting. The crowd was silent and attentive.

They spoke about what Nick’s Round Table does:
Awareness: Raises awareness about pediatric cancer.
Dignity: Members treat each other and kids with cancer with honor and respect.
Hope: They provide hope through comfort bags, birthday packs and cards to help kids feel special.
Healing: Promote healing by raising money to support families, update DVD’s and videogames to make their hospital stays more comfortable.

They explained what others can do to help someone with cancer:
Courage: Hold their hands, go to appointments with them, share your strength to help them get through each day.
Laughter: The best medicine. It’s a great distraction during treatment.
Respect: Treat kids with cancer like human beings.  Have patience when they are having a hard time.
Strong: Be encouraging, optimistic. Don’t lose it in front of them, but it’s OK to cry.
Friend: Be a friend. Keep in touch. Listen. Be in the present moment when you are with them. Text. Watch a movie. Play a game. Be supportive.

Members of Nick’s Round Table–The Fighting Dragons Team!

Teens ranging from 6th-12th grade came up with these ideas.  They empower other teens to fight against cancer, inspire adults to reach out and make a difference. They ease their own grief by giving to others. 

Teens Helping Teens Fight Cancer.  I am so proud of them and am confident that some day these teens will grow into compassionate adults who will conquer cancer once and for all.