One year ago today, at about 3:30 a.m., Tillery went into emergency surgery to remove her infected shunt. We had been airlifted to Cincinnati the previous evening and, after a long day and night of no sleep and filled with anxiety and exhaustion, I sat in the surgery waiting room alone. I wrote a blog update on Tillery and the previous few days as a way to fill my time. About the time I published the blog, a friend came around the corner. Her 17-month old son had just been taken into an emergency surgery. He was in heart failure. My friend looked scared and exhausted and it felt like I was staring into a mirror. After we talked for a few minutes and caught each other up on our children, I was called back to the room to see Tillery after a successful surgery. I hugged my friend and told her I would be praying for her family. That was the last time I saw Amber. Her son, Parker, died that day.
Parker didn’t have cancer but this story is what it’s like to have a sick child. You make friends with other parents of sick children. You are there for each other when no one else is around. When everyone else you know is asleep, another medical mama is awake with you. We support each other and we become family. When one of us hurts, we all hurt.
As we raise awareness for Childhood Cancer this month, we also remember so many friends we have met along the way with sick children. We are a community that supports our own. We support each other’s fundraisers, share each other’s stories, and are always there when another needs a friend. The kids in our community have a variety of illnesses. We try to share their stories and their struggles so you can understand that the pediatric medical world is big and somewhat untalked about. Thank you all for listening and for sharing. Talking about it is the first step to finding a solution.
To donate to help end childhood cancer, please visit our link.