One year ago, our world fell apart. I know, with a cancer diagnosis, death is always there as a possibility, but you don’t really think about it, because you have to believe your loved one is going to survive, especially when it’s your child. Even as Karen had relapse after relapse, I believed the doctors were going to find the next thing, and it was going to be the one that fixed her. Even when she died, things were set up for her to participate in a study that could have been the one. She only did that last round of chemo to keep the disease level under control until the study was ready to go. Even the doctors didn’t really seem to think she wouldn’t make it, since they used the chemo that was safer for her heart long term. Unfortunately, the different formulation was stronger than they expected, and longer lasting, and Karen just couldn’t take it. I hope they learned from that, in case they need to use it again.
We’ve gotten cards, emails, text messages, and booklets from very thoughtful people, and I woke up this morning to messages from Karen’s friends, who are planning to honor her today. I appreciate all of those people, telling me they are remembering Karen. We will spend the evening with friends who loved Karen, which will be wonderful. As I go about my normal boring day though, doing laundry and washing dishes, driving Susie to her activities, I’m crying, and missing my daughter. Life goes on without her, because it has to, but there are moments when it’s just so hard.
I’m Karen. I was originally diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) in August 2004 when I was 10 years old. When I was working on my college and scholarship application essays two years ago, I wrote about my journey. Although it was a rough few years, it became such an influential part of my life that I can’t, and wouldn’t want to, imagine my life without having had cancer. I called it the worst best thing that ever happened to me.