Monday, March 7, 2011

Cancer sucks

We got totally shitty news Saturday. The 6-year old son of some friends at church, whom we haven't unfortunately seen in a while, discovered he has cancer. Not some pansy-ass whimpy thing like leukemia. The name is 2" long and ends with -carcinoma. It's highly aggressive & highly malignant.

Something so rare in kids that the docs at the Mayo Clinic [just down the road from here] initially said, "that can't be right", go get another opinion. 4 opinions later ...

There's only 2 cases reported in the literature about kids. Which translates to "we're sort of clueless about what to do".

He started chemo over the weekend. A whirlwind saga of options on chemo, surgery, and lots of medical terminology.

They aren't telling him the extent of the extremely poor prognosis. It hadn't occurred to me that there would be a psych specialist for the parents. Managing the information flow to their child, to help him stay informed enough about what's being done to him without nuking his still-positive outlook.

I'm not sure if Jr.Gopher#1 remembers the boy - right after we started going to St. Albert's, there were four boys all the same age who really enjoyed playing together.

A friend of the family is in the home stretch dealing with pancreatic cancer. Did I mention cancer sucks? He's 78. As unhappy as I will be, and likely contemplating the age of my parents, it will not be a life cut tragically short. 6 years, though ...?

Explaining to Jr.#1 that Don is sick and probably won't live much longer seemed a beneficial situation. After all, he intellectually knows that old people die. I am assuming [?] that Don's death won't be emotionally traumatic. Raven the Cat dying will probably be more emotional.

We told the boys that Mr.Gopher's uncle died - but this was 2 years ago. We could have said any other stranger died, for all it mattered to them. They had never even heard of this man.

So, thankfully at least, their first exposure to Death will be the death of someone they actually know, and it won't be their grandparents. But this boy? Even if Michael doesn't remember him all that well, trying to explain that a 6-year old boy probably won't live through the Summer...? God. No wonder people want to be atheists.

I was the Lector yesterday at Mass, and read the Prayers of Intercession.
These are the prayers that include:
lector: "For the healing of the sick, we pray."
Response: "Lord hear our prayer"
I was sooooo close to simply adding the boy's name to the list of the sick and realized I didn't know if the parent would want me to ... it made me feel so sad to refrain from asking people to pray for him.

For the healing of Will Newll and the courage of his parent, we pray.
Lord, hear our prayers.

If anyone can, please say a prayer - or whatever intervention method you want - for Will Newell.

I'm usually one who cries at the drop of a hat. This ...? Mr.Gopher told me on Saturday night. It was this afternoon before it hit me. I'm sitting in the StPl library, trying to finish my thesis, and I can't stop crying and don't have any kleenex.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I cried reading this. When it gets kids, it's the worst. And when it's a rare, aggressive form, all you can do is cry.

A few years ago, another friend (who today is sailing up the eastern coast of Florida with her husband and grown son) told me about one of her friends dealing with a 3-year-old son who had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of soft-tissue cancer that usually hits only kids. For several months she talked to me about the boy's progress, his being a typical 3-year-old, his sweetness, how his parents had begun a page at Caring Bridge online, etc. Then one Saturday morning, I got a call from her husband -- the young boy had died the day before and my friend was by her friend's side. I was devastated. I didn't even know these people but I had heard so much about them and knew that Chris would really be hurting for them.

You pray it won't happen to you. But if it does, all you can do is pray for the strength to get through it and the strength of friends to support you.