Those of us that have kids, know that worrying about our kids health is always in the back of our head. Is that cough getting to bad, do I take them to the doctor? Does that ankle look fractured? Is that mole normal? It never really ends. I am sharing this story about a friend’s daughter to remind us how fragile life and health are and to not take any of it for granted.
My kids are competitive swimmers. Like really competitive. So when we go to big meets, we have come to know other good swimmers families and have become friends with them. Even going out to eat after meets and hanging out. Which is kind of unusual when you think about it, they are the competition. But they also understand and respect all the woes of being really good and that creates a bond.
So at the last meet, I start talking to a mom friend about life, how’s it going and what not, when I immediately notice that something is wrong. She is off somehow. She looks stressed, lost and even medicated. She mentions that they are under a lot of stress, so I don’t say anything and think maybe they are getting a divorce.
I go on my merry way, cheering for my kids, wanting them to do well. I am in awe of how hard they work and how it has payed off. But still, I wonder what is going on with the other mom. Later on that night, I run into her again. She starts to tell me about her stress. She tells me that her older daughter who swims was having knee pain. She assumed it was breaststrokers knee but she took her for an MRI just to make sure. Well, it wasn’t breaststrokers knee, it was cancer. Osteosarcoma. Later to be confirmed by biopsy. Parents worst nightmare.
I immediately hug my friend and share my feelings of utter disbelief and sadness. I don’t know what else to say. How could this beautiful healthy 13-year-old girl have bone cancer? She begins to tell me that they are harvesting her eggs and soon she was starting chemo, radiation and then surgery. Wow. And 5 minutes ago I was worried about my kid dropping time. Now, I am just filled with sadness, guilt and fear.
I am sad because I know how this mom’s heart is breaking. She will have to see her daughter suffer. The family is going to be on an up and down rollercoaster for years. The “perfect life” just left. I feel guilty because I take for granted my kids health and really my own health all the time. So what if they don’t win the 50 freestyle, they are alive and well, aren’t they? My husband and I have been able to complete several marathons; do we know how lucky we are? Some people cannot walk. I feel fear because I know at anytime we too could get debilitating news about one of our children. This is the worst. I want nothing more than for my kids to be healthy and happy, but I realize this is just a want, not a reality.
Because of my relationship with God, I know nothing takes him by surprise. I know he loves the girl with cancer. In fact he loves all of us. He gave us life and can take it away. We have to respect God as Creator and Lord. All things happen for His purpose and glory.
Yes, it’s terrible. Yes, it’s sad. But, it will bring good. Her story is not over. In fact, it has already changed me. Be grateful for all that you have. Don’t take your health for granted. Love your kids. Love others. Pray for others that are suffering. Know and love God, for He is the only one that can bring true peace and understanding.