Sadly, it has turned out that brain surgery was just the first battle in a long war. Pathology came back yesterday on Ellie B, and it is cancer – Medulloblastoma. She’s coming home today, and will have a 10 day break before they install a port for chemo and do a spinal tap to see if it has metastasized. Then 6 months of chemo will start and radiation if it has spread.
According to the pediatric oncologists, of all the worst childhood cancers to have, hers is the best. My sister and brother-in-law have such a huge support network that they’ll never be alone in this. We are already planning trips back up for all the chemo sessions and whatever else may come up. Ellerie has been so resilient and brave through this whole thing, I know she is going to give cancer one hell of a fight.
This is especially hard on us because we lost my dad to stomach cancer 9 years to the day of the brain surgery. So this all feels really familiar, but in a really terrible way. I learned to knit as a way to cope with the long days in the hospital with my dad. It was something that kept my hands busy while I felt so helpless. 9 years on, I’m going to use my knitting for every bit of good I can conjure. As soon as I’m reunited with my stash, I’m going to crank out as many F*ck Cancer Hats as my hands can manage. I’m also going to destash all my non-work related yarns and every straight needle/old needle set I haven’t used in years and send them to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. They were so incredibly kind to us and had an amazing array of activities to keep our minds busy. I spoke with the coordinator there and she said they would love to have more knitting/crochet supplies because there are so many family members who knit hats, toys, and blankets for the kids there, but there is not enough yarn or needles.
I’m sorry for posting all this terribly sad and heavy stuff on a blog that’s supposed to be about happiness and creativity, but I just need to put it somewhere. Knitters are some of the kindest people I know, in real life and online. I think there is something about the craft that appeals to people who are innately loving. Maybe it’s the desire to make things to keep people warm or maybe it’s because knitting requires love and care and a lot of time to create something that is ultimately given away to someone who doesn’t know how much love and care and time it took. If this situation makes you feel as sad and helpless as it does me, find a children’s hospital nearby that could use whatever crafting supplies you’re not using or make an extra hat to keep a tiny bald head warm. It’s not going to cure cancer but it will certainly bring a little light to a very dark situation.