My wife and I never thought we would ever hear either of our daughters ask, “Mommy, Daddy, am I going to die?” Yet here we were in April of 2015, sitting on the edge of our bed having this conversation with our 12-year-old daughter Kayla. With no warning, what we thought would be a routine doctor visit turned into the discovery of a suspicious tumor that would ultimately be diagnosed as Wilms Tumor, a form of kidney cancer. We have never cried so much in our lives. I never knew that so many tears were possible. But like soldiers, we had to fight and it took every bit of our mental, physical and spiritual strength to get through the next few years. Even now we are still dealing with the post-traumatic effects and emotional scars of treatment.
And it seems that every three months when we go in for routine scans, we are once again reminded of all that we’ve been through. In the case of most trauma, it’s usually possible to leave the place of trauma once it is over and never return. That is not the case with our trauma. It has been so important to learn how to cope. We all have different perspectives now on the fragility of life. Some of those perspectives are good and some are bad. We now know that at any moment anything could happen – a sobering reality that we continue to deal with and one that will be life-long.
Immediately after this tragedy occurred, CURE Childhood Cancer connected us to a competent and qualified counselor through their Partners in Caring Counseling Program. It was a very helpful resource that I can honestly say made a huge difference in our ability to cope.
Counseling has been a huge help. Many people have a stigma about counseling, thinking that it is for “insane” or “weak” people. But that could not be further from the truth. The sanest thing to do is to seek the help of others during times of tragedy and uncertainty. It takes courage to admit when you or your family needs help.
“Courage doesn’t happen when you have all the answers. It happens when you are ready to face the questions you have been avoiding in your life.”
We are grateful that CURE was able to facilitate the counseling for our family. It was an indispensable service that greatly helped us. I often hear stories of families destroyed by cancer – marriages ended and lives taken or lost. I would suggest that much of that destruction is due to people not knowing how to cope with the trauma they are forced to face. Our family is still going strong and that is largely because we sought the right help at the right time.
We encourage others to do the same.
Written by Kevin McGee, Kayla’s daddy
For more information about CURE’s Partner’s in Caring Counseling Program, click here.