|An Unwelcome Visitor|
|Wednesday, 03 November 2004 00:00|
On December 1, 1999 a nasty, insidious, stranger came into our lives, directly affecting the life of one of our children but indirectly affecting our entire family. This stranger was one we weren't prepared for and one we didn't welcome. "He" came in silently and caught us off guard but as a result we came together to become closer and have learned to appreciate the value of life. When this stranger first reared "his" nasty head, I was devastated. I spent days at my computer on the Internet to learn everything I could about "him" and how we could make "him" go away forever. I came to realize that the more we know our enemy the more empowered we become to combat "him", so knowledge was important.
When one of your children, no matter their age, is threatened by anyone or anything, as a parent your immediate response is to protect them at all costs and I am no different. I would easily have taken on the role of host for this beast if I could but that isn't the way the cards were dealt. Instead I educated myself so I could be the support that my adult child would need to deal with the monster. We came through this "visit" by having the beast surgically removed....we hoped forever. My child was diligent in keeping up his guard, to prevent any more invasions by this beast but unfortunately, today we learned the brute has returned. My immediate response when I received the news was an overwhelming anger; I was furious that in just a few weeks we were reaching the all-important five-year anniversary without a revisit. If we could have reached that time, the monster may very well have been kept at bay, but it just isn't meant to be.
The stranger I am referring to is melanoma, a very invasive, deadly form of skin cancer and the child, Jay, my oldest boy and middle child. I am back on the Internet researching again. The good news is that it has taken five years for it to return and in that time there have been many advancements. Ironically there are now many people in our lives who have an intimate relationship with this disease who can help in the fight. Ian, Karley's significant other, a research scientist, works at a biotech company whose primary purpose for the past five years is in finding a successful treatment for melanoma and Rachel, Jay's girlfriend, has three aunts who work in the medical profession, specifically with cancer. With the support of family and friends we will continue the fight and maybe this time we can permanently bid farewell to this relentless unwelcome disease.