Thankful to be Cancer Free

Thankful to be #cancer free! via @caregivermomJust yesterday I watched a blond-haired mom smile weakly at something witty the receptionist said and reposition her son’s bald head on her shoulder. The little guy whimpered and cuddled in closer. He was around three years old and his bare head showcased a huge scar arching over his right ear. He settled back in quietly as his mom adjusted the medical line from his nose.

I was speechless. I couldn’t quit taking peeks at them from the corners of my eyes and I could think of absolutely nothing to say.

I’ve written blog posts about how to help cancer caregivers and I remember vividly how hard it was to sit in silence sometimes. But I couldn’t speak to her. I knew her struggles and recognized the stage of treatment the boy might be in and I could not speak.

My strapping, healthy 14-year-old cracked jokes by my side while we waited in the pediatric oncology/hematology clinic at the Children’s Hospital. We were there for a wellness check—I had no worries at all that the oncologist would find anything but sheer health in my cancer surviving boy. This was a follow-up. A he’s-been-out-of-cancer-treatment-for-almost-seven-years celebration.

But I found it difficult to swallow and the queasy feeling I remember so well from treatments starting ten years ago made itself at home again in my middle.

That woman, sitting there cuddling the boy in the midst of their storm struck such a chord in my heart. How many hospital rooms had I sat in while cuddling a bald boy who didn’t feel well? I found myself praying for this little stranger-who-seemed-so-familiar and for his mom, who carried him into the inner sections of the cancer ward during my prayer.

We went inside too, where my son laughed and joked with the oncology staff. My son who fist pumped when measured at an official 5’9” and passing me in height. My son who is on the honor roll at school and plays basketball with joy.

I find myself today feeling incredibly blessed. As I begin cooking for a thanksgiving meal with all three of my healthy children home and laughing together, I find myself praying that the blond woman from the cancer ward gets to have a thanksgiving meal with all of her healthy children present. Maybe seven years from now she’ll sit in a cancer clinic waiting room, praying for another mother who is cuddling a bald child. Or maybe, cancer won’t be a medical issue any more. Wouldn’t that be great!

For today though, I choose to count my blessings and pray that others feel equally blessed in spite of, or maybe because of, all you’ve gone through. (tweet this)

Happy Thanksgiving!

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  • What a heartfelt and touching story. I love that you are so moved to pray for others. Know that I will be joining you today in praying for that blond woman, her little boy, and their family. I have written about how helpless we often feel when “all we can do is pray” and yet I believe that God works mightily in our prayers. Thanks for sharing this today. We are so blessed – thanks be to God!
    Heather @ My Overflowing Cup recently posted…A Week of Thanks {27 Gifts}My Profile

    • Heather, it warms my heart to know that others will be praying for that mom and her boy! That’s what I love about on-line community! Thank you!
      Carol recently posted…Thankful to be Cancer FreeMy Profile

  • Happy Thanksgiving….I am saying a prayer now for that blond mother and her tiny bald-boy!
    Paula recently posted…HAPPY THANKSGIVINGMy Profile

    • Thank you Paula. What a blessing to have prayers added. That mom might never know, since I couldn’t speak to her, but I pray she feels the difference!
      Carol recently posted…Thankful to be Cancer FreeMy Profile

  • Thank you for sharing your story…I recently sat in the waiting room on a similar place waiting for a friend who was getting her radiation treatment; and seeing the little ones going in an out of that place…some had lost their hair; others looked rather – um, “normal”. Yet, I knew something of their journey – and also said a silent prayer for them and their families. Praying in thankfulness for you and yours, and for healing for that blond mom and her little one.
    Barbara recently posted…Thanks GivingMy Profile

    • Thank you for your kind words Barbara. Waiting rooms carry all kinds of memories don’t they? I can’t wait for the day waiting rooms aren’t necessary any more! May you have a blessed Thanksgiving day.
      Carol recently posted…Thankful to be Cancer FreeMy Profile

  • We were at a Children’s hospital this week for a cold that caused my son to have breathing issues. I was so thankful we were there for something (major, but in the grand scheme of thing very minor). I was reminding myself how we could be there for a lot longer dealing with bigger sicknesses. Thankful for the safe place to go to help my son recover. I can’t even imagine how hard it must be to be the mom who has to deal with words like Cancer when dealing with their child. Thanks for sharing. This story touched me and reminded me how blessed we are.
    Amanda recently posted…30 Thoughts on being ThankfulMy Profile

    • Yes Amanda. It’s true that being in the hospital with the word ‘cancer’ hovering over you is difficult. But is there any reason to have your child in a hospital that isn’t hard? I too feel blessed by the hospitals and what they offer our kids. I’m so very impressed with every children’s hospital we’ve been in. God bless those medical personnel!
      Carol recently posted…Confessions of a Church AvoiderMy Profile

  • Congrats on your long-awaited celebration! You do indeed have a lot to be thankful for. It touches me that you’ve used your own experience to reach out to others and provide a voice for those in need of support.
    susan recently posted…Are you a hostess? You deserve some M&M’sMy Profile

  • Barbara

    and your heart will always skip a beat….my son was a very early preemie , now approaching 31 years old. I recall the first time I actually held him…I called him my picture window baby for over a month… and knew every single mom in the NICU by sight, and 31 years later still recall all the names of the babies who were side by side in a tiny hospital in Salem Or. It is a empathy that cannot be described in words alone for any Mama who has guided those tubes, checked breathing,the instant she woke from a minute nap…and heard the beep beep monitor as a sign of heartbeat … All these years later still ..Thankful for MIRACLES…Blessings today!

    • Wow. What a journey you’ve had! You are right, those feelings of empathy that wash over you while you watch another mother are incredibly strong. It’s nice when parents can be there for other parents! Glad your preemie is 31 – what a cool story!
      Carol recently posted…Confessions of a Church AvoiderMy Profile

  • I don’t have many words except to say that my heart is full of thankfulness for your son’s wellness, and I’m praying for that Mom and child right now.
    Caiobhe Hope recently posted…50 Days of Hope, Day 16 : Living the questionsMy Profile

  • Thinking of that mom and her son today. Also thinking of all children who are sick with cancer. I too pray for the day when cancer is no longer here. Thankful for your son being cancer free and your family being together. Happy Thanksgiving!!
    Tara recently posted…A Thanksgiving GreetingMy Profile

  • Beautiful story, Carol! I will pray that God provides strength for that family but also for all cancer patients and caregivers. I hope your Thanksgiving was blessed!
    Mary Geisen recently posted…A Generous HeartMy Profile

  • Sandra

    There’s no doubt that after the rain comes the sun, thank you for share this with us… The Lord loves you and your family!!! I will pray for you and all mothers that have that difficult moments! Blessings

  • It is always so sad to hear about children who have cancer. Congratulations on your son though, it’s good to hear he was able to beat it back and live his life so fully. I wish him luck in all of his future endeavors, that he may stay positive and as healthy as he can.