I am a Momcologist.

Tonight I was honored to speak at our Candlelighter’s of the Inland Northwest’s, Childhood Cancer Vigil.  Below is what I shared.  This was written as a speech, so it has a different rhythm.  Inflection and body language won’t be present.  I hope you can still feel what I’ve written.  It’s a message to every last one of you.

Welcome.  Here’s the facts…..  My husband Larry and I have three kids.  Curtis who is 11 and AnnMarie who is 8.  Gregory is our Cancer Kid.  He’s five years old.  Gregory was diagnosed with Juvenile Myeolomonocytic Leukemia in February of 2009.  There are only about 25-50 cases of JMML diagnosed every year in the US.  Gregory’s leukemia cannot be put into remission with standard Chemo.  Our only treatment option was a Bone Marrow, or Stem Cell Transplant.  He received daily low dose, oral chemo, to keep his disease under control, while we waited for a Donor Match.  We left for our five month stay in Seattle in May of 2009.  Gregory received his gracious gift of new cells on Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 4:10 in the morning.  His donor was a 23 year old female, here in the US.  We have yet to get connected with his donor, but are hopeful that we will.  His day 26 post bone marrow transplant, Bone Marrow Aspirate showed that there was no evidence of disease and his marrow was 100% donor cells.  This status has remained unchanged.  He is currently in ongoing treatment for Graft Versus Host, which is an effect of having someone else’s immune system.  He remains immune compromised.  This process may continue for several years to come as his new marrow learns to recognize his body and not try to destroy it. 

Over the last several weeks I’ve been trying to discover what I wanted to share.  Thinking about you, the audience, and what the intention was of tonight’s vigil.  Divine inspiration never presented itself, but this is what I came up with.

I stand here, preaching to the crowd.  The parent’s, sibling’s, grandparent’s, caregiver’s, and loved ones of our cancer kids.  Hopefully there are a few of you out there that came along in solidarity to this group.  This odyssey that we are on never ends.  It is a life long experience that comes with fear, joy, expectation,  hope, loss, life, death, post traumatic stress syndrome, nightmares, exhaustion……… It is a life changing experience.  Some good, some horribly wretched.  We rally together, reading, writing, texting, facebooking our hearts out in an effort to find community and comfort.  That is why I am here, today.  Offering my heart.  To each one of us who are on this path.  We ache for things to be as they were before this beast entered our lives.  While being eternally grateful for those that are with us.  Holding our hands and our hearts, witnessing, as our new lives are crumbling, unfolding and being reborn. 

I have an extreme distaste in my mouth when people use these three words:  Lesson, Gift, Reason.  Every person is on an upward path of growth.  That growth is possible without this experience.  There is no Lesson, Gift or Reason, worthy enough of what our families and children are put through.  We are put on a fast track of growth.  Racing along to keep up the lightning speed in which things happen.  Gasping for air as circumstances change in the blink of an eye.  The depth of our knowledge of our child’s disease would keep any Oncologist on their toes.  From the moment the words are spoken, “Your child has cancer.” we learn what perspective really is.  We have gained a new appreciation of the mundane and rudimentary things in our lives.  Moments we never gave a second thought to, are now sacred and crystalline in their value.  Some of our friends fade away. People we never truly considered friends, become steady rocks in our lives.  Our fellow Childhood Cancer families sometimes mean more to us than our blood relatives. 

I would gladly revoke my membership to this club, if I could.  Yet, I am constantly humbled and filled with love for the members of this club.  We understand each others lingo, quirks, fears and joys.  Through CaringBridge, CarePages, Blogs, Facebook, Email, and phone calls, we cradle each other with the gentleness of a shared experience.  I look at You and you and you.  All of you, with the deepest understanding, the fiercest love and the proudest of honor.  We are family.  The kind that doesn’t get fractured.  We will be life long friends and advocates.  My heart bursts with the love of knowing you.

I am a mom, wife, sister, caregiver, compadre, warrior, goddess, advocate, woman.  Above all else, I am a Momcologist. Fiercely at your side.  Holding your heart, knowing your hold mine.   


About Mindi Finch

Living with Magnificence. Kicking Childhood Cancer's Ass.
This entry was posted in Childhood Cancer. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to I am a Momcologist.

  1. Jonna says:

    Kelly,My heart aches for you and your mums predicament. I know only too well the pain of hainvg someone with this exact disease. I had twin daughters and 1 got this hideous disease at just 28mths old. After 3yrs of treatment she relapsed & a bone marrow transplant from her twin was ordered. Alas, we were too late. Her disease was too advanced for a transplant to work. I urge everyone to register on the bone marrow donor list. Time is of the essence and people need our help. Thinking of you and your mumLove Jennifer.

  2. Hi, This is Nora and Sharon’s mom. Some people think that being a bone marrow donor is very painful, so they hesitate to sign up. Signing up is easy and requires just a blood test. Even the next stage, where you have been identified as a potential donor is easy – just a blood test. The actual donating is done under anesthesia and your hip bone(s) might hurt for a few days but what is that bit of pain if it saves someones life? You can take pain pills. The odds are slight that you will ever be called on. I was called for further testing but no further. My husband has never been called on for further testing. But we would have donated without a moment’s hesitation if we had had the chance. So, please, register to be a donor!!!

  3. Encus says:

    Hi Liam, hope we can ride bikes together one of these days take care and you are rellay cute!!! Lynne Liston-Krause 2:32pm Sep 21Beautiful boys! Laura Quackenbush Hammer 8:20am Sep 22Great to see!

    • Sethumadhava says:

      Hi Jack, We just missed you and your dad dnirug the lunch time visit you made to Tapas & Vino . we were sorry not to be able to attend dnirug the evening and see you in person. Andy Jolls, Leanne Hill and myself made a point to go and support you we are all anxiously awaiting your book release! Wasn’t the food fantastic at T&V? We had lamb chops (pops), asparagus, sliders, salad and three desserts . everything was excellent. Be sure to keep your postings coming, we all read them. Big hugs, JA

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