Although September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month (I know it is October), I think awareness needs more than one month of the year. Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease among children in the United States. Unlike many adult cancers, childhood cancer isn’t linked to lifestyle or environmental factors; but by genetics or chance.
The good news is that with improved care and treatment over the past 30 years, survival rates have increased to 80%. Children treated for cancer are now surviving for 5 years or more after treatment. However, many long-term health issues and late side effects follow survivors as they age. Some late side effects may not show up until many years later: emotional troubles, secondary cancers, reproduction and sexual development, growth problems, cognitive loss, heart issues (and too many more). Once a child becomes an adult and leaves pediatrics it becomes a question of where do they go for followup? Adult oncology centers do not want a pediatric long term survivor – they are not new patients nor were they an adult when diagnosed. It can become a conundrum.
I sat on this post . . . Waiting . . . I’m relieved and confident enough now to share. This quilt was/is a comfort quilt for a dear friend who recently underwent a double mastectomy. I don’t necessarily bestow names upon my quilts. An exception was made, this one is titled Star Hope.
I made a conscious decision to sew a quilt made of scraps from previous projects. I can’t explain it actually, but in my mind it was a way to bundle all the previous love and effort that transpired before, into one quilt. Silly. Superstitious.
I couldn’t wait for my daughters’ to say, “Mamma” or take their very first step. Before I knew it, we were purchasing lunchboxes for the first day of kindergarten and then I was sending them off to college. I ran behind their bike on their first solo ride and couldn’t go to sleep until I heard the car pulling safely into the driveway on weekend nights. I dried their tears when they argued with their ‘best-est’ friend and chatted about their first crush. There was the first lost tooth, first sleep over, pierced ears, braces, first dance. Prom. Marriage. It may seem trite to some, but time truly does fly – whether we wish it to or not.