A tiny slice.

I have always tried to be a parent who speaks truthfully and frankly. Having childhood cancer in our lives has not diminished this. In fact, it has shown me that being truthful and frank is an invaluable gift to The OffSpring’s future selves.

AnnMarie and I both fundraise for St Baldrick’s Foundation. As was the case for 2012, we both received our copies of their annual report in yesterday’s mail. I stay current on St B’s goings on so I did not peel it open immediately upon arrival. AnnMarie? She had that puppy open as soon as she laid her hands on it. In order to help me with dinner and read her report, she propped it up against the microwave and went to work grating the cheese.

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As she is diligently grating her cheese, she is applying the same concentration to absorbing the information in front of her. Very little of what she is reading is new to her. These are topics we have discussed on numerous occasions. Yet, she is receiving the information via the foundation she helped to raise money for. She is vested in being an informed charity ‘consumer’, for lack of a better word. She stops mid-stroke with the cheese, looks me straight in the eye and states: “Mommy. I wonder how long Gregory will survive.” You see, she had just read the sobering statistic that childhood cancer survivors have a greatly diminished quality of life and life-span.

What is important to note is that these conversations occur all the time. They are not hidden away during secret moments out of everyone’s ear shot. The conversations revolve around the research and results of kiddos around us. Those that came before kids like Gregory. So while we have statistical information, we always address the fact that we just don’t know what Gregory’s future will hold. We know what he is at a greater risk for, but we don’t know if/when these things will happen.

Tonight at the dinner table, she is still poring over that report. This idea that treatment can cause death and destruction to a developing body is baffling to her. Tonight it was: “WHY would you go through treatment, knowing how awful it is.” It was then my turn to let her know that we don’t have a choice. The only alternative is certain death. I asked her: “Can you imagine what would have happened Gregory not been treated?” The look on her face spoke volumes. It clicked. She understood the quandary of ‘Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.’

Meanwhile, Gregory is bopping around doing his thing. Interjecting with reflective thoughts of his own. Along with an abundance of hugs, kisses and ‘I love you’s. for me. He is beginning to have just a hint of understanding about his Odyssey. I think last night really started the wheels moving and he had a glimmer of realization over how amazing it is that he is surviving.

Curtis also offered a choice bit of reflection, too. “Remember when all we used to worry about were bee stings, bruises and such?”

Oh, kid. I remember. Vaguely. Most of the time? I don’t remember what parenthood was like before cancer.

One honest and frank conversation at a time.


“What is uttered from the heart alone, will win the hearts of others to your own.” 

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe



About Mindi Finch

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

3 Responses to A tiny slice.

  1. Bill Amoureux says:

    Thank you for sharing your family’s journey and the absolute best of luck and love to all of you and especially to Gregory. I cam across your website in a very interesting way. I googled my name /Bill Amoureux/ in order to find an online picture of me to put on my Linkedin profile. Google had a bunch of pictures of custom knives made by my uncle, who also goes by the same name. We share the same name, but are polar opposites. I clicked on one of the knife pictures and the flickr account had a link to your website. So I read about Gregory and Curtis and AnneMarie and then compared your journeys with my nephew’s and my brother’s. My nephew Alex went through similar cancer experiences at about the same age. He is now in his mid 20’s and thoroughly enjoys life. His mother (my sister, Sharon Amoureux) has been big with St. Baldericks for quite some time. My oldest brother, Bob was diagnosed with a form of Leukemia last fall. He has attacked it head on, like I expected he would, and is going though the chemo treatments and is scheduled for a stem-cell transplant soon. I told him to make sure he didn’t let his hunting trips and adventures get in the way of his treatment. He told me I had it wrong: He wasn’t going to let leukemia get in the way of his hunting trips and adventures with his kids and grand kids.

    Rock on Gergory. I’m sending a link to my almost 60 year old brother. We can all learn from a hero of a 7 year old.

    Bill Amoureux,
    Tucson, AZ

    • Mindi Finch says:

      Oh, Bill….. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. It has been a grueling four years. We know not what tomorrow will bring, but today we are basking in the light of Gregory’s survival.

      The flickr account you found the picture of the knife from is The OffSpring’s daddy. Fascinating that his love of knives would find you free-falling into our story.

      Thanks again, friend, for leaning into our suffering and joy while experiencing your own. I will look up Sharon, we may have some cross-over contacts. I would also be willing to bet that your brother has CML. Which is closely related to Gregory’s disease.

      Sending you and yours an abundance of love and light.

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