I have been catching up in the blogging world and after reading Lisa's blog, it reminded me of an experience that I had years ago. There is no doubt that as parents we would much rather suffer the hardship, pain, anguish, heartache, fear or afflictions ourselves rather than watch our children have to suffer through these things.
I am a 13 year breast cancer survivor. I have endured chemotherapy, radiation and a double mastectomy. My children were only 9 and 6 when I was diagnosed. I had the same fears as "The Frump" that I would leave my children without a mother to love and care for them. My cancer was rare and wild and I was given only a 40% chance of living.
My cancer was aggressive enough that it made me eligible to be able to have a bone marrow transplant. I live fairly near the City of Hope where this procedure would take place but I needed to have a consultation first. On the day of my consultation I walked into the lobby of the City of Hope and found the room to be fairly gruesome. There were many patients in various stages of their cancer. Some were extremely ill and slumped in wheelchairs. Some had masks over their faces. (As a cancer patient you are very susceptible to disease and need to be careful about being around other people that are sick) Some people had no hair, some were obviously wearing wigs, some had sickly looking hair and then there was me who just wore a scarf over my bald head.
I sat down and waited for the receptionist to call my name. As I looked around at the others who were experiencing the same disease that I was, a little girl caught my eye. She was about 9 years old and was wearing jeans and a baseball cap with a long blonde braid hanging out the back of her hat. There was something about the braid that I thought looked funny but couldn't really see anything obvious. She was with her mother and I remember thinking that I would never bring a child to a place like this because it was pretty scary for a child as young as her.
I continued to watch her and her mother and then starting really looking at the little girls' braid. It finally dawned on me that the reason why her braid looked strange was because it wasn't a braid of real hair, it was a braid made up of yarn. She was bald underneath her baseball cap and I realized with heartache that she wasn't there with her mom, but that her mom was there with her.
Immediately my heart overflowed with gratitude that it was me that was dealing with this disease and not one of my children. Parents that have to endure watching their children deal with life threatening diseases or debilitating situations have a guaranteed spot in heaven as far as I'm concerned. I can't think of too many worse things in this world.
My prayers go to Lisa and all others who are having to deal with scary health issues with their children.
Oh and I decided not to go ahead with the bone marrow transplant. But that's a story for another day.