Three years ago, our family’s world seemed to fall apart when my Mother was diagnosed with Fallopian Tube cancer. Our easy, breezy, happy lives suddenly felt heavy and sad. It’s terrifying when something like that happens to someone you love, and you immediately start thinking the worst. But time went by and treatment started and somehow it all just sort of became our ‘new normal’- we learned to adapt, while my mother began her battle. And three years later, after two intensive surgeries, and two cycles of chemo, my mom is doing well. We hope that after she completes an upcoming cycle of radiation, that we can say “BUH-BYE” to her cancer for good.
And while it never feels right hearing that your mom, or someone close to you has cancer, you learn that cancer does not discriminate. It can happen to anyone.
But, perhaps there is nothing more unsettling or unnatural than hearing a child has cancer.
Unfortunately, a couple of weeks ago, my sister (and co-creator of this little blog) Caroline, got the news that her youngest child, 15-month old Wes, has been diagnosed with high-risk Neuroblastoma stage IV. News that made all of our hearts just SINK. To say we’re all devastated, shocked, and sad is an understatement. Screeching halt? I think I heard it ringing in my ears for days.
To imagine how my sister and brother-in-law felt upon hearing this diagnosis just kills me. Life literally changed in an instant for them.
And for little Wes.
:::Gee and Wes practice animal sounds:::
Wes has a big fight ahead of him, and we prepared to see him through it. As the doctor explained, his cancer is highly aggressive and they will treat it aggressively. Chemo has already begun. Bone marrow transplant, surgery, radiation, and other procedures are on the horizon. He is GREAT hands here in Charlottesville at University of Virginia Childrens Hospital with a fabulous pediatric oncologist, and she has given us faith that Wes can get better. Caroline and Pei have been taking turns spending days and nights with him, and they are learning lots of new fancy medical jargon.
Caroline and her husband have been remarkably strong… I am just in awe of them. She is the one showing us how to get through this- with grace and love and a positive attitude. I have always admired Caroline’s mothering. She is a sweet mama with a ton of patience. She is celebrating the good days, when Wes is eating well, being happy, and smiling. He loves to make animal sounds, drink the hospital dry of the complimentary apple juice, watch videos on the iPad, and scribble on paper. A couple of nights ago, he even broke the 7th floor curfew and partied until past 10:00!
He is such a sweet boy.
Wes has lots of adoring cousins to FaceTime with, and so many friends and family members to visit him while he’s in the hospital. Surely Caroline and Pei will see a gazillion meals pass through their door, home-cooked by helpful, loving friends. Older siblings Avery and Jet have lots of playdates and school activities to keep them busy, and of course they have me, their “Shao” (Chinese for little Aunt) at their beck and call, their other Auntie (our older sis, Erika, who lives in Chicago) to send them kooky videos of her doing old high school cheers, and two sets of doting grandparents to love them up! One amusing thing we discovered, is that Wes and my Mom will be sharing the same Radiation Oncologist at UVA. How’s that for Funny-not-Funny? Hey, if it keeps our family on his mind more than usual, then it can only be a good thing, right?
We are Wes’s warriors, and we stand along side the Chang family as they begin this journey.
I am asking you loyal readers, on behalf of my sister, to please keep Wes and his family in your thoughts and prayers. If there is a community out there that can do that I know it’s the supportive, inspiring sewing blog one that Caroline and I have come to know and love over the last 3 (wait-almost 4!) years.
Lots of love,