When my niece had her first child and the second one was on its way, we didn’t know that her first child would be diagnosed with Wilms tumors on both kidneys.  Once we found this out, this changed our lives in a way no one could image.  

With the second child coming fairly soon, my niece was so hysterical knowing that her first child had cancer, and wondering what would happen to her, that she went into a panic attack and they had to induce her sooner than they wanted, because they were afraid she would lose her second child.  This child had to go through so much as well, that today she has a lot of mental issues.  

For the first child, at 19 months, she received chemo treatments and it continued for another 5 years.  She had a total of 500 treatments with 150 additional adult doses.  For such a young child, she went through so much in her life.  In those 5 years, this cancer would come back 3 times.  Each time she lost her hair, had to have a port placed in her left chest, and was in the hospital so many times, we just couldn’t keep track.

One weekend I had to stay with her in the hospital because she was neutropenic and she wasn’t allowed to leave her room. It was so difficult to see her go through this, but I knew I had to be STRONG for her.  As she laid in her bed, I noticed the needle in her port was coming out and she always cried when someone tried to touch it.  At this time, she was 2 years old and I told her I had to call the nurse to get the needle back in.  She cried so hard, held my hand and said, “Please save me”, not help me or hold my hand.  I did everything I could to not cry.  How someone that young felt so afraid and I felt so helpless.  

As the years past, she developed short term memory loss and that in itself was and is a constant struggle.  How could you describe the word atmosphere, when she couldn’t remember what it is or what it meant?  She is now 18 years old, but the memory loss will always be a problem for her.

As the years past for me, I tried to accept what we had to go through, but some days were better than others.  When I was very stressed or frustrated and thought I couldn’t get through another day, I would look at a picture of my great niece without her hair and think of what she went through at such a young age.  I took her courage and STRENGTH and said if she could get through this, so could I.  

It’s amazing to see what my great niece had within her and how she could survive such hardship with a smile, courage and STRENGTH to go on.  I’ve learned that each day is truly a gift and to treasure it, live life to the fullest, and be thankful for what I have been given in my life!

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