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Order amid Chaos


Jessica Cardini
Treatment


John and I decided to have Jessica treated at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. For the first 4 weeks I never left my daughter's side, sleeping next to her on a chair bed. My heart ached for my 3 children I had to leave at home. The hardest was trying to make them understand what was happening to our family. Each child needed to be told in a way that they could comprehend. We quickly learned that our children would be the very source of our healing. Cancer became a familiar word in our vocabulary, not to be feared but to understand it and conquer it.

During Jessica's stay at Sloan-Kettering she was showered with cards and gifts, from school and friends and family. The local Girl Scout troops sent many get well cards and gifts. Her 1st grade teacher sent her a birthday cake and all the trimmings for her 7th birthday, which she celebrated with the other pediatric patients in the playroom. Jessica did not take the chemo treatments well at first. Her world changed too soon and too fast for her to understand. She was receiving blood transfusions almost daily, platelets and chemo. The injections were easy compared to trying to convince a 7-year-old to swallow pills. As time passed so did the trauma of enduring the treatments. It became a normal part of our life.

I was honest with her and explained that she had to fight to stay alive. She had to learn that the medicine making her sick to her stomach was the only way to kill the cancer inside her. When she was offered gifts from the playroom at the hospital she would ask for things for her brothers and her sister instead. When it was in her right to think of herself she thought of others. I was so proud of her; she was my hero from that moment on. It was so hard being separated from the rest of our family. Jessica and I missed them so much, and I know they missed us. Our goal was to go home to them as soon as possible.

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