Tuesday, February 21, 2012

This Week In Cancer

You know, unless and until cancer is put on your radar, there is just a lot that you don't know about.  And let me just say, when it comes to cancer, ignorance is bliss.

But, cancer comes along and there is this whole world of information out there that takes the brain space that was formerly occupied by all manner of things important and trivial.  The way my mind is working lately, I figured I needed to go ahead and get some of the good info in writing so I won't forget, and just in case anyone stumbles on this one day in a newly diagnosed cancer blur and could use some helpful info.

So, these are just a couple of the things I have stumbled upon in the past few weeks:

--SuperSibs! -- the hospital social worker passed on an info sheet about this non-profit agency that is dedicated to the siblings of kids under 18 who have been diagnosed with cancer.  They sent the younger boys a neat package in the mail, with the promise of more each month.  At this time when so much time and attention is being given to the brother 'lucky enough to have the cancer and get goodies from everyone', this has been so helpful.  All of this is free.  We like free.

--American Childhood Cancer Organization -- have books, DVDs, journals, and stuffed animals available simply for asking--again, all FREE.  I sent a request online last week, and got a big box in the mail just a few days later.  My teenage boy loves his stuffed chemo cat.  Who would've known?  Our current favorite is a book for siblings called Oliver's Story.  My youngest really responded well to this one.

--The Fault in Our Stars, written by John Green--I suppose this would be labeled as Young Adult fiction, and I would never have bought it if we weren't in this place.  The main characters of the book meet at a teen cancer support group, so it takes a coming of age story in a new direction.  The main guy, Gus, has the same type of cancer as Harrison (osteosarcoma), and is 14 months NEC (no evidence of cancer).  It is not a feel good book, per se, and is not the kind of book that would be found at Bible Book Stores.  The kids have cancer, and kids with cancer are sick and vomity and some of them die.  Plus, they are teenagers, so that tends to take the story in places that too many YA fiction books go to nowadays (think Juno-esque).  But, for some reason, it was good to for me to read.  Not for my mom, or husband, or even Harrison to read, though.  Not yet.  Maybe when he is about 5 or 6 years NEC.

There have been some discoveries that are a little less tangible, but no less touching.  Probably even more so, because they are blogs by people dealing with their own cancer stories.  I don't know them personally, and I am pretty sure I never will.  However, they are putting themselves out there, and it is helping me in my cancer place.

--Johnny Optimism -- a cartoon post every M-W-F, by someone with their own cancer diagnosis, that catches the whole insanity of navigating the medical cancer maze.  It requires the reader have a dry sense of humor to appreciate.  Harrison and I laugh and laugh when we read them.  My mom, on the other hand, is a little bit mortified by them. It is still WAY too early for most of our family to be joking about the situation.  It sure helps us, though.   Just a sample:


--Life is what you make it, a blog by JRose.  She is coming to the end of the tunnel in the next month or so of her treatment for breast cancer.  She is currently having radiation treatments, and plans on returning to work in April.  All of her posts aren't cancer related, which is refreshing, because it is a reminder that no one chooses the cancer path, and even though it may take center stage for a while, life goes on in other ways as well.  Thank goodness. Just a sample--Cancer Patients are the Happiest People I Know.

--SteveMcKinion.com--I just learned about this one this afternoon...As I am sitting with Harrison in the hospital... And he has FINALLY fallen asleep for a while. I don't know Steven either, but he posted a link on my husband's Facebook wall that chronicles his own journey with having a 10 year old son who was just diagnosed with leukemia this past December.  He has written so well about so many things we have been facing or feeling, but I just haven't had the time or energy to post.   My current favorite post of his has to do with the cancer beads (We Don't Want Your Cancer Beads) that are given to cancer kids to commemorate each step and procedure.  It is such a neat idea, and we take ours everywhere, but still...

I'm sure there will be more rays of light to come, helping to chase away the icky darkness that seems to go hand in hand with cancer sometimes.

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