The lifestyle of a family with an oncology patient is one of change and unknowns. We have adapted, but with the help of others. My personality is one that thrives on regular routine and systems. We are able to fit all of the pieces of our puzzle together because of the natural ability to plan and organize. Last year those plans all had to be set aside so that we could focus on the care of our then, 12 year-old daughter, Kira. We absorbed the news and modified our work and home lives in a few short hours. I was at the hospital, my husband was juggling work and our 10 year-old son, Thomas, was patiently going with the flow. Somehow I was still the hub of information and scheduling and planning and rearranging it all to squeeze by.
Somethings, like bills, were automatically being paid and grandparents stepped in to transport Thomas to school and his drum lessons, drama workshops, Cub Scout meetings, volunteering and the like. We have a case manager at the hospital that synced it all together so that appointments and pills and specialists would all coordinate. I know that our church family was praying vigilantly for us and our team. However, there was that piece that was overlooked. Not intentionally, but I think out of lack of understanding. That piece was the idea of taking care of the caretaker and the basic needs of the family.
When I say basic needs I am referring to those everyday kinds of moments like an experienced ear that can hear your feelings in a way that no-one else can. A gas card because they know that the travel budget has been blown out of the water. The light hearted gathering for Fro-Yo just to take a break and enjoy some flavor in our life of procedures and clinic visits. My daughter, who felt exponentially different than her peers as a teenage cancer patient now has a sense that she, along with the other kids are, normal, well; as normal as spending your 6th grade year at the hospital can be. Even a random Target card so each of us can buy something fun, and maybe a little unnecessary, because it is the pick-me up that we had lost sight of while bogged down in treatments.
Darian’s Gift is so much more than just money for gas or to help out with random home expenses. This collection of people is support, laughter, a hand to hold, peers for my children to connect with. They are the quiet and steadfast support that my husband and I have found a sense of calm with. There is such a strength in knowing that we can call on the organization for support whether it is financial or emotional. We are currently recipients of support. Every time I think we can transition from receiving to giving life seems to have other plans. I do know that this is a collection of kindness that I will continue to infuse into our lives. I want to give to others in a way that has been done for us.
(Mom to Kira, age 13, with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia)