An emotional night tonight. Not because of Tourettes, but because of cancer. Cancer has become a big part of my life recently. While I myself am am so lucky to be healthy, the kids I love and that have touched me more than I can ever express live with the fact that cancer can take their lives every day. I've been working with these kids for about a year now, and for the first time am faced with the fact that one of them may not spend much more time on this earth. My first reaction was anger. It's just not fair that this 6 year old girl has battled brain cancer 2ce only to have run out of treatment options. Now that it's been a few weeks since I've heard this news I'm trying to come to terms with a way I can deal with it. It is something that I'm still working out. There is not one way to deal with something like this, nor is there a right way.
Tonight I visited with a little girl who I know pretty well. She too has a very serious type of cancer and her doctors are trying all they can to help her beat it. Tonight she was wearing a cute shirt that said "jive, love, hope" and when I asked her what it said she told me to read it to her. Then she asked me "what is hope?". What a tough question to answer for this sweet girl. I had to think about it and try to phrase it in a way a 5 year old might understand. I eventually settled on telling her "hope means you know everything is going to be okay". This is an explanation that I think she can grasp, but was I telling her the truth? For a little girl with a very serious cancer that can claim her life, how can I sit there and tell her everything is going to be okay? Later that night she climbed on my lap and rested her head against me. She picked up several books and "read" them to me by making up stories. We played tea party, taped pictures we colored together on the wall of her hospital room, and pretended to have a sleep over.
While yes, it is the reality that cancer may take her life, cancer cannot take that night from us. Cancer cannot take my memories of her or her mothers memories of her. Cancer cannot take our relationship away. Yes cancer can take her hair, her hearing, her skills, and it may even take her life, but even with this fact so real and present, there is hope. Not everything will be okay, but regardless of what happens this disease cannot and will not take everything. She is living, right here and right now, and the memories she makes and the lives she touches will last for an eternity because no one and nothing can ever take these things away.