Maintenance Day 574: Dear Mr. Buble:
Welcome to the childhood cancer family. It is a family no one wants to be a part of, a family no one chooses. But we know your son. We know what he is experiencing, what he is feeling, and what medicines he is taking. We know that he will lose his hair, will throw up, will cry in pain. And we know that you will suffer. You will suffer the pain of watching your son suffer. You will experience the same feeling of helplessness, fear and loneliness that we do. You will be frustrated, angry and helpless when you find that your son is only worth 4%. You will spend moments crying into your pillow or out the window, only to turn around with a smile on your face so your son doesn’t see your tears. Your heart will explode with pure joy and pride when you watch your son fight a villain that he doesn’t see. There is no experience like watching your warrior and knowing that he is a part of you. We know all of this because we have been through it too.
Childhood cancer knows no difference between socioeconomic status, race, nationality. Money can’t prevent it or take it away. Trust me, I think all childhood cancer parents would give every penny they had if it would bring us a cure. Knowing that you could have literally taken your son anywhere in the world and you chose treatment in the US makes me confident that our hospitals are the best.
We are a family. I have never met you, I probably never will. But I know what you are experiencing. Our hearts are breaking for you, your wife and your children. It will be a long and difficult road but you are in no way alone. You have the rest of your new family. For we will be praying for you, picturing your son’s face when we discuss cancer, hope for your well being.
My advice to you is this: lean on your wife. Let her lean on you. Cry together, talk together, share your feelings and emotions. But love each other. Soak up every moment with your son. Although it may be difficult to see his tiny little body, withering away, take pictures. Enjoy every moment – the good along with the bad. Those bad moments will determine who you are. Laugh. A lot. Every moment that you can. Even when she is crying, there will be a moment when you can make your wife laugh. Do it. Allow your son to make you laugh. It will make the days easier and the memories that much better. Spoil your other son. He may not remember this but it will shape him. Tell him he is important and that he is special.
If you can, when you have an extra moment, contact another family. Read another story. Let someone inspire you. You are not alone. You have a new family to depend on and seek advice from. We are here to answer questions, inspire you and to listen. We are your cheerleaders.
And we will rely on you. We hope that seeing childhood cancer firsthand will inspire you to be a voice for this family. Use your fame and celebrity to bring good things to children like yours. Use the anger and sadness from watching your son to push you to do great things. We believe in you! And when you are feeling defeated, as you inevitably will, remember that you have a new family to pick you back to keep going. Your son is going to need you.