Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Three years ago today. . .

We were headed to California.  Steven had just had a biopsy of his leg and a confirmed diagnosis of osteosarcoma.  I had never felt such acute anxiety.  I practically hadn't slept or eaten in two days.

What a difference the years have made.  It is weird to look back at that experience and feel like a bit of an outsider, when it shaped us so much into who we are today.  I feel like I have forgotten so much, maybe on purpose.

Today I found out that my cousin's boy has leukemia.  I can't get him out of my mind.  When I told Steven, his face went white, he was horrified.   I may have mentioned that just as school was starting, a boy at Steven's school, in his grade, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma.  These instances are hitting too close to home, and while I should be some sort of big help, I feel like my hands are tied by the very thing that should make me the most helpful.

It's weird.  There is a reason I don't write much anymore--it's partly because I want to forget about cancer.  But even when I try, it is right there--hurting other people.  Still hurting me, really, because I still worry about it.  Sure, we live on and we don't talk about it much.  We hope and dream all the time about our futures, but for me there is always a dread in the back of my mind that it will come back.

I remember reading books in the hospital about parents of cancer patients.  One thing said that people move on from cancer in different ways--some become activists, others use their knowledge to support other families--I've seen these types of parents, it's amazing to me.  Maybe it is so amazing because somehow I've become the parent who slipped into the shadow and tries to forget about cancer.  I didn't mean to be that way, but I guess after I lost my baby, I just didn't have much in me left to give.  I still don't.

For years I've wanted to write a post about how to help people when they have cancer or some other big deal thing.  When the boy at Steven's school got diagnosed, I was determined to do it.  Now that my little cousin has cancer, I'm once again resolved.  Tonight I don't have it in me to go into detail, but I will say this--just do something.  Each action we take is a way to show love and support, and even if the person doesn't acknowledge your words or deed with a thank you note, it won't go unnoticed.   I could not have endured the past three years without the love and support of those around me.


  1. Thanks for posting this Sonja. It's hard to know just what to do when cancer is affecting the people you love the very most. You feel a little helpless to do be able to do anything that would really help. I hope that those in our family who have been affected by this can feel our love and fervent prayers in their behalf. I would love to hear more of your thoughts on this. Love you!

  2. Sonja, you don't realize how truly amazing you are. I'm reading your words, and they're not matching up with your actions. You are one of the most giving, caring, considerate people I know. You are always thinking of and organizing nice things for people. I don't think caring means starting some successful non-profit organization. It means looking out for the people you're closest to. And you do exactly that. I want to be more like you.

  3. I think you are one of the strongest people I know. I feel like cancer has changed my life just from standing back and watching. I can't imagine being so close to it like you are. And I think you are a great example of being kind to other people, whether they have cancer or not. I am so happy when we go down to visit because I know that you will always be kind and help me feel included in your family.