I checked my email upon waking this morning. The subject line read ‘twelve years ago today’. I glanced at the date [and] knew in an instant who had sent me this sweet note of encouragement, remembrance.
“Good Morning Stephanie:
Hope this e-mail finds you and your family healthy and enjoying this holiday season. I just wanted to tell you how much your love and support changed our lives. It was twelve years ago today that we met you for the first time.
It was a day a mom will never forget, the day their child is diagnosed with cancer.
Have a wonderful holiday.”
If you know me, then you know that I have a thing with dates; dates stick with me, really, REALLY stick with me. That being said, it will come as no surprise to you that I carry my patients within the chambers of my heart-mind. Those patients who were diagnosed around the holidays will always hold a very special place in my heart likely because I, too, was diagnosed in December oh so many years ago.
Devastating news amidst a backdrop of comfort and joy.
This incredible little one was infectious, unforgettable; he embodied HOPE. It was impossible to encounter him and walk away unchanged. I think of him quite often, but without fail on December 8th [and] July 21st of each year; the day we met [and] his birthday, respectively. Together with his mom buoyed by her love, this little man took Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia to task, fought hard, [and] won. He died years later of an overwhelming respiratory virus.
And his mom, well, she was [and] remains a remarkable woman, forever the mother of two, [and] no stranger to the trials of this life. She, herself a survivor of breast cancer [and] arguably even more difficult, a mom who has survived the loss of her son-beloved.