Despite the emotional upheaval of their child’s treatment, parents and caregivers graciously offer a glimpse into their families’ experiences at one of the Me Fine Foundation’s partner hospitals. Here, we highlight the story of 7-year-old Bristol K. and her mom, Jenny K.
We at Me Fine feel incredible gratitude and privilege to be able to provide a platform for families who are undergoing incredibly difficult moments. Each time you give of your resources and time to the Me Fine Foundation, we encourage you to bring their words to mind. Your compassion makes a difference, as Jenny K. bravely attests in her family’s Story of Hope:
“Before our daughter received her cancer diagnosis life was busy, but normal in every sense of the word. School, dance, church, family time and repeat. Life was full and chaotic at times, but it was still complete with enjoyable day to day moments. After getting Bristol’s cancer diagnosis life has been so different. It is still full, but now it’s full of doctor’s appointments, chemotherapy, lab draws, scheduled medications at home, and always wondering if today will be a good day or not. Cancer takes away the normalcy of life that we tend to take for granted and replaces it with so many questions, fears, and uncertainties. So far we have completed 8 weeks of chemotherapy out of a total planned 67 weeks. It’s a long journey just to work to get to “cancer free” status, then will follow repeat scans and tests every 3-4 months for years. Having a kid with cancer steals a family’s normality. It steals their peace of mind. It replaces moments that used to feel routine, like going to church or dance, with thoughts of: “should we take her today”, “will it make her too tired”, or “I don’t know if anyone there might be sick”. It makes us think so much more cautiously. Additionally, having a sick child almost forces me to be a stay at home mom in spite of having a job. You can’t preplan well enough of when to pick up shifts because you never know what the next day will hold. It adds strain and worry with how to pay the bills and puts more weight on my husband’s shoulders to be at work full time to help try to make ends meet. This results in him missing out on the majority of her medical appointments and chemotherapies each week. To even further the difficulties that come along with cancer, we have a son that needs us too. He is 5 and he needs his parents’ (and sister’s) time and attention as well. We are daily working to keep life as balanced as possible for them both. They both deserve equal amounts of time and love shown to them. We are so diligent in trying to ensure neither feels less love or attention, which sometimes results in pretty tired parents at the end of the day.
Ever since Bristol was diagnosed, we have had people ask what they can do to help. This is such a loaded question. We don’t want to ask for help. Both my husband and I have always been so independent, worked hard at our jobs, and we have been able to support each other and our family well; however, cancer takes freedom away. It makes us need help when we are not accustomed to asking for it. Every bit of help makes a huge difference in our lives now. Food, travel expenses, mounting hospital bills, miles of travel each week to the clinic, and missed work all affect us directly and our finances. Support such as the gas cards and Walmart cards from Me Fine help so significantly. As simple as it may seem, it helps us breathe a little easier. Another week covered; another grocery bill handled… among all the worries and stressors that we cannot control, having some of that burden removed is indescribably helpful.”