You'll get the worst phone call imaginable or you'll bring your child to the doctor for something you think is routine only to find yourself in an ambulance being transported... elsewhere. So, to those of you who have suddenly found yourselves in a hospital room facing the very worst possible news of your lives, here is some advice to keep you sane.
I sit on a train destined for New York for the sole purpose of seeing a couple I have never met. Their home is across the world. I am not certain what they do for a living, how they met, what they do for fun, or what type of food they like. Yet, I am confident that I know their innermost thoughts and that we have more in common in how we confront our daily lives than many people I have known for decades.
It's been three years since my daughter's initial cancer diagnosis. Since then, we've visited the pediatric oncology clinic for treatment, follow-up scans and meetings with her doctor. These days she is seen on a not quite monthly basis, depending on her latest scan results. It amounts to a lot of time in the waiting room.
In February of 2012, my 5 ½ year old daughter Madeline passed away. She was diagnosed with DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma), a rare and inoperable brainstem tumor. She passed away only five days after her diagnosis. I am often annoyed and confused when people tell me that Madeline died for a reason.