Meet Erin: What My Daughter's Cancer Taught Me

Meet Erin: What My Daughter's Cancer Taught Me

Ten months ago I was a “typical mom”. I woke up, got the kids dressed, fixed breakfast, got kids off to school, cleaned the kitchen, started the laundry, cleaned the house, went grocery shopping, and so on. Then in a matter of 24 hours my life changed in a way I never imagined. My "typical mom" life was interrupted by cancer.

My daughter Reece was 5 years old when she was diagnosed with a “Wilms tumor” (kidney cancer). The tumor had taken over her kidney and was beginning to spread. Within 72 hours she was in the operating room having her kidney and the tumor removed, and I was thinking, “What am I going to do now?”

No mother ever wants to see their child endure any type of pain, sickness, or suffering. No mother ever imagines living the worst possible scenario with one of their children. It was extremely hard to watch my daughter go through a 5 ½ hour operation and then battle 7 months of chemotherapy and radiation. Every week for 28 weeks I went to the hospital with my daughter for chemotherapy. For 6 days straight, she endured the wrath of radiation.

 Reece's first chemo treatment.

For those 28 weeks, I watched her happy sweet smile dwindle down in fear as we approached the hospital doors. I watched her cry, scream, fight, and yell. She would ask, "Why?" and tell me she didn’t want to keep doing this. Every chemo treatment I held my daughter on my pregnant lap while they accessed her port for chemo. I held her while she would get sick from the chemo drugs. We cried together, we laughed together, we played games and made memories. During those 28 weeks we had a lot of bad days, but we also had a lot of good days.

I have had a lot of trials, tribulations, and heartache in my adult life, but nothing like this. Seeing my child go through pain, day after day, week after week, and looking her in the eyes and feeling completely helpless was one of the hardest things I have ever done. As a mom you want to “fix” what’s wrong, but I couldn’t “fix” my daughter. I could never take away her pain, or give her extra energy, but I could hold her as she was in pain and cry with her. I couldn’t help her from feeling sick and throwing up, but I could comfort her with my presence and love. I couldn’t stop her hair from falling out because of the chemo and radiation, but I could tell her how beautiful she was and help her feel happy about the way she looked. I couldn’t help her run like all other 5 year olds, but I could pick her up when she would fall, and tell her its okay. I couldn’t take away the fear and anxiety she had when I couldn’t be with her all the time, but I could let her know that I would be close by.

 Last day of chemo!


 3 month follow up to make sure there is still NO cancer!

Cancer is a lot of things, but I didn't know it was a teacher. Cancer taught me that kids are TOUGH, kids are STRONG, and they are the glue that hold us together. Cancer taught me to appreciate the human body and what it can do. Cancer taught me just how real God and faith are and the power that they supply in our lives. Cancer taught me that in a world of unknowns, there is still a place for peace. Cancer taught me that the world is full of good people who desire to support, love, and serve. Cancer taught me that "typical moms" are extraordinary people and equipped to handle the most demanding of responsibilities. Cancer taught me that although I can't "fix" everything around me, I can make things better. I learned that through our own trials, we are strengthened by others' faith, hope, and kindness.  I learned how to love and love what is most important - my family and my God. I learned how family, friends, and a community can be strengthened by one tiny person.  Although, I hope to never be this intimate with cancer again, I learned that I can be grateful for the journeys of this life and the lessons learned by living it.

To continue following Erin and Reece's story follow them at Fighting For Reece!

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