Cancer is something that I would never wish upon anyone, especially a child. It is taboo, a horrible illness, an unfavorable diagnosis, yet, in most cases, we are all affected by it. Maybe you’ve had a parent, sibling, grandparent, or aunt or uncle who has or had cancer, maybe a cousin or a friend, a friend’s mom or sibling, or a strong little patient fighting for their life. I’ve been affected by cancer many times in my family and my friends, which is very unfortunate. But, it has taught me a very important lesson: that humans are resilient, and they are fighters.
Today during my practicum, my rotation was in the oncology unit. When I was volunteering, I had a lot of interaction with oncology patients and experience through being involved in THON, so it’s something I’m comfortable with. Which sounds so weird. Why should anyone be comfortable with cancer? It’s not so much that I’m comfortable, but that I feel a calling to help. I feel that with my experience, I have the opportunity to offer so much to oncology patients. I want to help in any way I can as a Child Life Specialist. Yes, it will be difficult, but I have a connection to these patients and the duty to provide them with anything they may need to normalize their experience.
Don’t get me wrong, cancer is difficult. In the oncology unit today, I encountered families that have opted to keep their child sheltered from the information about their treatment. Sometimes not even being aware that they have cancer. I met patients undergoing palliative care where legacy making was organized by Child Life. And, I met patients who were fighting like champions, making their little personalities shine through to show everyone that cancer wouldn’t bring them down. They were fighting, and they were doing it with smiles on their faces.
I learned a lot today, and I was humbled by the experience. These children give me inspiration. They give me the inspiration that I can be a better person. Anything that I am going through cannot even be compared to everything they’ve endured in their life, and I am amazed by the strength, resilience, and life these children have. I learned that there is hope, because many types of cancer treatments have incredible success rates. I learned today that cancer affects people in different ways, and it is one of the most difficult things a family can go through. And I learned that I want to support them, I want to offer anything I can to help them through this trying time in their lives. And I want to help these children win their fight.
It may seem out of the ordinary, but I feel that I am needed in an oncology unit, and I would consider myself so lucky if I am given the opportunity to work with these amazing patients in my future work as a Child Life Specialist.
I am officially inspired.