How My Daughter’s Cancer Helped Me Heal

Cancer Helped Me Heal

It is a warm summer evening. I am standing in my kitchen, preparing dinner and taking a mental inventory of my family members. Through the large kitchen window, I see my husband Craig outside on the patio, tending to the grill. I hear our two kids playing in the backyard. I do not take for granted for a moment that there are four of us, together at home, living life mostly on our own terms. As I chop some farm fresh kale, my mind drifts to noticing how relaxed my body feels and how much spaciousness there is around my thoughts. This feeling is new to me, as my body has not historically been this relaxed. I have gained so much this year, despite our dealing with a life-threatening medical diagnosis. I am in awe of how good and bad can commingle in the same circumstances and result in so much growth.

Around 10PM on January 19th, 2015, we received a phone call that turned our lives upside down. Our daughter’s pediatrician was on the line, urgently informing us that the results of her blood test from earlier that evening were consistent with leukemia. After an overnight trip to the Emergency Room, we were instructed to depart for Children’s Hospital in Denver, 350 miles from our Durango home, the next morning. This was a game-changer. How does a parent begin to accept and process this news? Would Chloe survive? Would I survive this? Our normal family life had been thrown overboard into uncharted territory. We had been plunged into deep water, and we were swimming for our lives.

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