Sunday, December 6, 2009

Diagnosis: Cancer

As a parent of two beautiful girls, I couldn't even begin to imagine staring at an intimidating doctor in a white coat and being told that my child has cancer. I can't even begin to fathom the feelings and emotions that would arise when the test results would be read back or the lab results interpreted. Can't even begin to imagine.

But every 3 1/2 minutes, a parent is forced to endure hearing those words. Every 3 1/2 minutes, a child is diagnosed with cancer. Astonishing - absolutely astonishing.

As a pediatric nurse, I am forced to see and experience situations that I may want to avoid or even ignore. Faced with families that are suffering and hurting, I am forced to interact professionally with them, although on a personal level, I am uncomfortable. Because of the career path I have chosen, I am challenged both on a personal and professional level. To put it mildly, cancer sucks!

After a very brief scare this summer, my husband and I were for a few short days, forced to consider the possibility that our daughter may have a brain tumor. Suffering from some intense, bizarre headaches, our fear was put to rest after a negative CT scan. We were relieved. But for those few short days where we were left up in the air to contemplate the possibility, I was depleted. I spent so much time and effort considering the possibilities. What if.... or What if.... Many of the families at the hospital I work are no longer wondering "What if" but rather "What now."

Were in the world do we go now? Childhood cancer not only rocks the life of the patient, it rocks an entire family. Sadness is not even an adequate enough word to describe the devastation it can do to a family. Every 3 1/2 minutes is just too much.

I have chosen a very small outlet to place my passion about childhood cancer into. It is an organization called St. Baldricks. I will be providing a link to what St. Baldricks is and how it works for children with cancer. In essence, St. Baldricks raises money to expend toward cancer research. By donating, to St. Baldricks, your money is directly used to fund cancer research. In return, well, I am going bald.

On March 13, 2010 I will stand before a crowd of people and hold my breath as (what I hope to be) a sweet old barber shaves my head down to just about nothing. Yikes! The thought - terrifying. But I would be willing to bet that the fear that I may have is nothing compared to the fear that some of these children have as they are told they too will be losing their hair. The difference - it is not their choice. I am making a conscious decision to undergo a transformation that will initiate looks, stares, ridicule, pointing fingers. I am choosing to make situations more difficult for myself and to make myself feel uncomfortable. These kids- they are not. I am whole heartedly passionate about what I will be doing. I am passionate about raising as much money as I possibly can to put towards a very good cause.

That's where you all come in.

Will you consider helping me on my quest. Will you help reach my goal and even surpass it. I've got the hard part covered - I'll undergo the ridicule if you will simply open your minds and open your checkbook. Please, consider donating to St. Baldricks. I am confident in my heart, I will exceed my expectations.

To visit my web page, click here.

I am praying that over the course of the next 3 months as I prepare for this event, you too will be preparing with me. If a donation is not possible at this time, prayers for those children suffering from cancer and those not yet diagnosed are always welcome.

Be sure to tune back in, I will have updated progress and of course before/after pictures.


Sara said...

Heather, thank you so much for promoting St. Baldrick's Foundation We are proud to count you as a member of the St. Baldrick’s family. With your help, we are a few hairs closer to conquering kids’ cancer! Looking forward to seeing your new look!

Michelle said...

Ok, if that's not a commitment to "one month to live" I don't know what is. You have our support...through pocketbook, prayer and passion.

Thank you for inspiring me, my friend!

And to're the man!

Kim said...

what a courageous choice! thanks for standing up for what you believe in. what a wonderful lesson for the girls!