Thursday, September 1, 2022

The Tree of Knowledge. (Day 244, Year 2)

It is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. And since I write about cancer for a living and since I talk about cancer all the time and since my daughter is a childhood cancer survivor, one would assume I'd know exactly what to write. 

However, I never know what to say. There is just too much. One thing I think about a lot is the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (of everything!) in the Garden of Eden.  Guided by the devil, Eve and then, Adam, eat that apple and suddenly they know everything.  Eden is no longer Eden. It is a place where eyes are open and suddenly, the burden of knowledge weighs everything on human kind. 

Childhood cancer is evil and the moment that apple was handed to me, I had no choice but to know everything--it was the only way I could try to save my child. 

And once you know the things I know, you cannot ever forget. 

The knowledge keeps me up more nights than I like to admit--especially 15 years later. I worry constantly about my daughter. I worry about my friends' sons and daughters. I worry about children I don't know but I've read about. I worry about the children not yet diagnosed. I worry for the future grandchildren I may or may not have. I worry and I worry and I worry because I know exactly what childhood cancer is: it is cruel and unrelenting and it is the leading cause of death by disease in children in the United States.  

Children that survive are 95% more likely versus their peers without a past cancer diagnosis to experience a significant long term side effect by the time they are 45 years old. 

I know think any amount of time or therapy or prayer will take this worry away, because I know in bones and my heart and my brain and my blood exactly what childhood cancer is--it is not simply the out of control growth of mutated cells. 

Childhood cancer is evil and without mercy. 

And as many ways as I can describe childhood cancer; as many times as I share how it has moved and changed my life and how it has marked the lives of my children, I can never ever do it justice. 

The knowledge childhood cancer gave us isn't something I'd wish on any other parent.

So, this month, when the world Goes Gold and talks about awareness, my prayer is someday our awareness is of a set of diseases that have been cured and eradicated--stopped before they can require intervention--wiped off the planet. I pray that someday no one knows what our family knows. 




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