“Your Kid Has Cancer.”

August 05 2016

Those are four words you never expect to hear. My 13 year old daughter had been having some knee pain but we thought it was growing pains. Then it didn’t go away. The doctor wanted an X-Ray. Something looked “off”. Let’s get an MRI. Something is definitely off. Let’s do a biopsy.

Within the span of a week our lives took a 180 degree turn. We were gearing up for a fun summer. We had started the process of looking at houses and, in fact, had an offer in on a house we loved (that fell through). It was an exciting time.

Then you find out your kid has cancer. Osteosarcoma. It’s a somewhat rare but fairly treatable bone cancer.

As I’m writing this we’ve been through 2 rounds of chemo (that’s six total hospital visits) and we are 2 days away from a six-hour surgery where they will be replacing a lot of the bone around her knee with metal and plastic. All of our treatments and surgery are happening nearly three hours away from home at Vanderbilt in Nashville.

She’s long since lost her hair. We are dealing with a plethora of meds, the side effects, and chemo sickness. One of the cancer meds can cause heart problems which will necessitate a heart scan every year for the rest of her life. Another can cause hearing loss, and it has already caused a perceptible amount. The knee replacement will eventually wear out and sometime in the next 20 years she’ll need it again…and again…

And we are a long way from finished. After surgery there’s a cast, PT and then twice as much chemo as before surgery. And it all started with that one horrific fact: “Your kid has cancer.” I thought often about what I’d write if I won the ListServe. I didn’t know. But I never dreamed this.

I’m working my way through dealing with this as a father, a husband, a Christian, a human. I’m trying to figure out how to best take care of my daughter, our other daughter, my wife…myself. We’ve had great support in family and friends.

As a Christian I am trying to find God's guidance in all of this. Sometimes I feel deep comfort with a peace that really does pass all understanding. Sometimes I'm yelling at Him. Somehow I think he's really OK with both. I do believe that this too shall pass. We will be changed but I believe we can find goodness in this somewhere, somehow. I do know it has made us cherish the good days, the days when we are all together, much more.

If you are interested you can poke around on Facebook for “Emma’s Journey” to follow along.

Chris Cummings
[email protected]
Cleveland, TN

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