On September 8, 1989 I turned nine-years-old. I was a having a t-shirt painting party/ 50’s sock hop. In other words, my four best friends and I wore poodle skirts while we painted t-shirts with awesome puff paint. I remember the party. What I also remember is going to the clinic that day to see if my white blood count (the bodies ability to fight infection) had recovered enough to have my friends over. Oh, and if there was a bed at the hospital available for my chemo that was supposed to start that night.
There were no beds, which I was thrilled with. I wanted my party. I remember the relief of not having to leave my party early to go and get checked in for five days of chemotherapy. I didn’t mind going to the hospital by that point. I had friends. There was Pam and Talley and Maria. But, I definitely wanted my painting/poodle skirt party more.
Saturday morning all of my friends were gone and I was watching cartoon and eating cereal when the phone rang to let us know that a bed was available. I checked into the hospital later that morning to start another round of chemo.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month. I’ll probably spend some more time here talking about it. I talk about it because I can. I have words and memories and a lifetime of living with cancer. And until there’s a cure, I need to use those words to talk about it.