A parent whose child has cancer, how does that feel?

Get your box of tissues ready and read what this mother says it is like to have a child with cancer.

This reminds me that not all parents with seriously ill children have the wonderful support that Cooper’s family has.  I will pray that this mother receives more support too.

It’s tough to read this, but I think it’s good for all of us to be given an unvarnished view of what this journey is like for this mother.

I Hope

I hope you never have to hear the words,
“Your child has cancer.”
I hope you never have to hear,
“The prognosis is not good.”
I hope you never have to prepare for your child
to undergo radiation or chemotherapy, have a
port surgically inserted into their chest, or be
connected to IV poles.
Look at you with fear in their eyes and say,
“Don’t worry Mommy, everything will be okay.”
I hope you never have to hold your child as
they vomit green bile.
I hope you never have to feed them ice chips
for lunch.
I hope you never have to watch the “cure” you
pray for slowly take away their identity, as they
lose their hair, become skeletal, swell up from
steroids, develop severe acne, become barely
or unable to walk or move, and look at you with
hope in their eyes and say, “It’s going to be
okay, Mommy”
I hope you never have to stay in the hospital for
weeks, months, or years at a time, where there
is no privacy, sleeping on a slab, with your face
to the wall, where you cry in muffled silence.
I hope you never have to see a mother, alone,
huddled, in a dark hospital corridor…crying
quietly, after just being told, “There is nothing
more we can do.”
I hope you never have to watch a family wander
aimlessly, minutes after their child’s body has
been removed.
I hope you never have to use every bit of energy
you have left, with all of this going on around
you to remain positive, and the feelings of guilt,
sorrow, hope and fear, overwhelm you.
I hope you never have to see a child’s head
bolted to the table as they receive radiation.
I hope you never have to take your child home
(grateful but so afraid) in a wheelchair because
the chemo and radiation has damaged their
muscles, 35 pounds lighter, pale, bald and
And they look at you with faith in their eyes and
say, “It’s going to be okay, Mommy.”
I hope you never have to face the few friends
that have stuck beside you and hear them say,
“Thank God that is over with,”…because you
know it never will be.
Your life becomes a whirl of doctors, blood tests
and MRI’s and you try to get your life back to
While living in mind-numbing fear that any one
of those tests could result in hearing the dreaded
“The cancer has returned” or “The tumor is
And your friends become even fewer.
I hope you never have to experience any of these
things…Because…only then…
Will you understand…

Author: Carol Baan

8 Responses to A parent whose child has cancer, how does that feel?

  1. Linda says:

    That is such a heart-wrenching piece of writing. And you know she’s been there herself, or she could never describe it so well.

  2. Amy Ostrowski says:

    I agree with Linda. I found it heart-wrenching but so honest and truthful. It made me realize that if someone I knew was going through this, to make sure not to step away but be there for support. Thank You for sharing.

  3. Hilary says:

    Oh yes “heart-wrenching” is the precise word that came to my mind. It puts so much into perspective.

  4. Just today, when I was trying to get into my car in a parking lot, an adolescent girl with a partially balding scalp was attempting to get out of the back seat of the SUV beside me. I saw the weariness in the mother’s face, and told her that nobody had to hurry because I was there…and the sick girl slowly put on her shoes in her attempt to get out of the vehicle.

    I wish there was something I could have done, or said, to ease the worry that family experiences on a daily basis.

    At least with The Boy, there aren’t invasive procedures and unlimited medical tests going on…and for that, I am grateful (even though we have our own set of challenges every day).

  5. Chrissy says:

    heart-wrenching is a good word, but NOT nearly the right words!!

  6. Sandra says:

    Linda — I think the fact that she is speaking from actual experience makes it the most heartbreaking.

    Amy — It doesn’t surprise me that you would take this touching story as a call to service. I know, without a doubt, that no friend of yours would ever feel deserted during difficult times. You are truly a caring person.

    Hilary — It definitely reminds us of what’s important, doesn’t it.

    June — Even though The Boy’s problem is very different, I’m sure that experience makes it very easy for you to empathize with this mother.

    Chrissy — I think I know what you mean. No matter how much we care, the right words don’t always automatically come to mind.

  7. We do everything we can to put a smile on a childs face….

    […]A parent whose child has cancer, how does that feel? « Add Humor and Faith….mix well[…]…

  8. jodi says:

    I cried so hard because i can relate to every word all too well.

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