I am a firm believer that there is no greater joy than motherhood. To me my daughter was everything from the moment she was born. She was a healthy baby though not a very fat one. She had a few sulking issues but we overcame that despite the fact that I had had a C-section. Once she managed to latch on she gained weight too and for me it was like someone had put a piece of heaven in my lap. Then two years later she got this fever which at first I thought was flu. A week later the fever had still not come down and the doctor suggested some routine blood tests. The results were anything but routine for me.
My 25 month old baby had acute lymphoblastic leukemia and I for one did not even know what that meant leave alone understand how to move forward. I had separated with my husband a year back and while the divorce was not yet final, we were not really looking to get back together. The news struck us both like lightening. I had barely been able to adjust to the separation and now this bomb. While for the first two days my husband and I just tried to take in the information, later we began to go at each other. Blame games started where I went on with how I am the only parent in my daughter’s life while my husband accused me of being over protective. While most would think that an illness like that would bring the parents closer, in reality it drove us apart and acted as the last nail in the coffin of our marriage.
The next three months were killing. Doctors told me that statics were in our favor since as high as 80% of the kids in my daughter’s age bracket recover from this disease. The tests and initial findings were all looking good and we got referred to one of the best oncologist in the area. Chemo was of course planned out and we began in about four weeks and from then on it was a long and painful journey.
Recovering from cancer is not easy and in case of a two year old child, the process is even harder. My daughter grew weak, her hair fell off, she would be queasy after each chemo session and I could not do anything but stay with her in the hospital day in and day out or cater to her needs at home. This meant that I could not go back to my work and in a matter of a few weeks it was clear to me that funds will soon become an issue.
My ex had almost disappeared from the scene all together and I for one did not even have the time to look for him. It was not like I did not have any money, but I also had to run a house and get the medicines that my daughter needed. Chemo is not cheap and in no time I began to sell whatever little jewelry I had. IN the mean time my daughter’s condition got worse. She was getting weaker and radiation and chemo was still required to get the blasts to under 5%.
I asked around at the hospital and even looked up the net for organizations that would help in cases such as mine. If found a lot of into on http://www.singlemom.com/dedicated-assistance-programs/health-care-programs-prescription-drugs/ and the hospital was also able to offer some broachers of organizations that provided funds for those families who do not have money to get treatment for the kids. The problem in many of these cases was that I did not have the time to pursue these organizations and put in my papers since my time was all taken up by my daughter and her trips to the hospital.
What worked for me was online filling of papers. I found the sites where I could gather information about the many organizations that could help me and went through each of their sites to see if I fit the criteria. I had to wait long hours in the hospital and with free WIFI I was able to get a lot of information. http://www.singlemom.com/chemocare-com/ and http://www.singlemom.com/chai-lifeline/ were two links I depended on heavily for information and assistance.
My ex decided to become a drunkard since he apparently ‘could not handle it’, but I had no such choice. I fought for my daughter till the very end. I sold my jewelry, I exhausted my savings and went from pillar to post getting money organized for her hospital stay and medication. It took us three very long and very painful years but by the end of it my daughter was free of cancer. She herself is a fighter and the doctors would often say that I am lucky to have a daughter since females tend to fight the cancer much better than the male kids.
We have started kindergarten recently. Things are perfect since my baby is still a little weak, but I know that she will pick up and catch up with the others in no time. She did it when she was born and she will do it again now. I on the other hand work very hard and save up a lot. My experience taught me that in times like this money really matters. Even today I wonder what would have happened had I not been able to organize the funds for my baby girl’s chemo. The thought itself is enough to send a chill down my spine.