Saturday, May 4, 2013

Mother's Day Profile: Renee Cooper

Mother's Day means different things to different people. As a mother it reminds me, of the amazing human beings that have been put in my life. Human beings that I call my children. Their smiles and laughter remind me why I get out of bed in the mornings and why I stay up late at night to make things perfect for them. It is also their smiles and laughter that get me through the hard times. We all have them. The times that we would rather just go back to bed and pull the covers over our heads and stay there until things are better. But that's not reality.

All four of my children are amazing. They are the reason I keep breathing. They amaze me with all their accomplishments. Each child has a different personality and looks at the world in such a different way. They all make me a better person. When you have a child you want to protect them and you'll take out anyone who tries to do otherwise. So, when you hear the words "Your child has cancer", it takes all you have to keep going.

My youngest daughter; Kaitlin, was diagnosed, less than a month after her third birthday. A time that is supposed to be the best time turned into a nightmare. The moment I heard the words Acute Myelogenous Leukemia, my heart sank. That can't be MY DAUGHTER..that's someone else's. But no, it was about my baby girl! With this diagnosis, life became chaos. I had to learn to trust strangers who I had never met. To trust that what they were recommending to do to Kaitlin, what was best, in order to not only fight this horrible diagnosis but to also keep her alive.

I heard survival rates and percentages. I was told what would happen to her. I was told what side effects they thought might happen and what they said there was very little chance of happening. But Kaitlin being the stubborn and complicated little girl she is, she made a liar out of many things I was told. That first time having to let go of her and watching her wheeled into the operating room (which would not be the last). The times of having to watch the nurses; who later would later feel like part of our family, access her port which meant shoving a needle into her that hurt. All the trips made to the ICU because things were not going as they were planned. And even having to tell my daughter that it was ok to let go. Because that is what needed to be done since doctors said she would not see morning. Yet she did...because of that stubbornness. One thing you learn very early...NOTHING goes as planned. To enjoy every single itty bitty event more than ever because you don't know if that's the last happy moment you will experience with your child.

Spending a year straight in the hospital became second nature.  To be home was weird. Kaitlin went through numerous rounds of chemotherapy and too many blood and platelet transfusions to count. She made friends with other kids on the floor and she also said goodbye to these same friends. She is such a strong little fighter. She never once lost her smile and always told everyone that "It's a happy day because I woke up." She is nothing short of a miracle!! She always wore her dresses and had her headphones hooked to her ipod dancing around-entertaining anyone around. She reminded me it was alright that all her hair was gone because that just meant we saved money on shampoo and she didn't have to worry about brushing tangles out of her hair. What an amazing daughter I have-so brave!!

Someone asked me recently, if I ever wish my child had never been diagnosed, my answer is easy...of course I wish she hadn't. But yet I believe challenges are only given to those who can handle it and I know that even those days that I feel very alone and just tear up knowing my daughter lost her childhood, those are the days I draw on Kaitlin's strength because she is a HERO beyond heroes! I will always cherish each day more and Mother's Day will mean that much more because; unlike too many we know, I still have four amazing children on earth that I can talk to and look at anytime I want.

If you would like to take time to honor a mother, like Renee, in your life please consider making a donation to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society this Mother's Day.

Make a donation
and a letter of recognition of your gift will be sent to the mother you are honoring with your donation. You are also welcome to mail in a donation to: LLS, Attn: Mother's Day, 8111 LBJ Fwy., Ste 425, Dallas, TX 75251.

Thank you and Happy Mother's Day from the North Texas Chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

No comments:

Post a Comment