30 DAYS/30 STORIES® 2022
My name is Marilyn, and my son Jacob was diagnosed with cancer on April 28, 2017, when he was nine years old. This was the worst news I have ever heard. It felt like being thrown in with the wolves. Once we received the diagnosis, the doctors and nurses were telling me to sign this, sign that, not really knowing what was coming next. I literally signed my son's life away without reading. Who the hell has time to read when your sole purpose in life has changed?
Jacob was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a type of cancer that attacks the muscle tissue. Jacobs's cancer was found in his right eyelid. He fought cancer for nine months, beat cancer, and was in remission. We went back to our merry lives, living life without a care. A year later, his cancer came back. Our merry lives ended once again. His childhood was derailed for the second time. No more football…bye bye friends, school, sports, faith, hope, etc. Yes, you lose everything.
Jacob fought for another two years, he beat it, and was in remission yet again. During both times that Jacob spent fighting cancer, we lived at the Ronald McDonald House for four months. Jacob received about 65 rounds of radiation and over 100 rounds of chemo. What people do not get to see is the chaos in between. I'm literally watching my kid suffer and cannot do anything about it. I had to pick and choose between my kids. Cancer also derailed my life, leaving an imprint in my heart and soul, and also in my children. I can still hear Jacob screaming in pain, calling out to me because it hurt so badly. He perfected projectile vomiting. His taste buds were always confused. There's so much more, but a complete explanation would be too long.
This journey has been rough. It changes you, and it changes everything around you, especially your perspective. People will leave your side simply because childhood cancer is too sad for them and they cannot bear the thought of it. Although we have lost so much, I am so grateful that Jacob is still walking on Earth. Some families aren't so lucky.
This journey has given me trauma, PTSD, and anxiety, but this journey has also given me new friends, a new family, and a new purpose. Childhood cancer has led me to PCFLV. The Pediatric Cancer Foundation of the Lehigh Valley has been with my family since Jacob was first diagnosed in 2017. They have helped me keep meals in the fridge, and they have provided us with gas cards and gift cards. They have helped me put Christmas gifts under the tree, because I was only working two days a week and couldn't afford much, and so much more. Thank you PCFLV for being the support that I needed and for providing not just for Jacob, but for his brothers too.
Please consider helping children with cancer and others in our community by scheduling a blood donation at Miller-Keystone Blood Center: https://donor.giveapint.org/donor/schedules/zip