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Help For Families Coping With Cancer
A balanced approach to the question, "Cancer has touched my family; now what?" Judith Bowman shares her experience dealing with doctors, hospitals, Child Protective Services and the trauma and stress of standard cancer therapy.
Without suggesting her book is one-of-a-kind, Judith shares her experience in seeking answers to what lay ahead for her family as they anticipated going through cancer treatment with their seven-year-old daughter.
In their search, she and her husband found no books that simply told them what to expect day-to-day through the process, so she wrote one. "If we had access to a book like this, many of our fears and much of our anxiety would have been alleviated," she said. Her husband added, "We were overwhelmed; no one else need be."
The Discovery That Changed Our Lives Forever
IT WAS A TYPICAL DAY in the Bowman home in mid-January. With our children, Sarah and David, sitting between us, my husband, Ted, was leading the family in prayer just before the children’s bedtime. As we said “Amen” together, Ted noticed a pea-sized bump on Sarah’s left arm, just above her wrist. We made note of it and tucked the children into bed, enjoying our nighttime snuggle with each of them. Two weeks later, the bump had become a lump the size of a small egg. That was too much growth, too fast. Concern set in. What should we do?
Ted and I are not anti-medical, but over the years, with little or no medical insurance, we hadn’t rushed either child to emergency rooms or doctors' offices. We couldn’t afford it. Low fevers, colds, and common illnesses came and went. Convinced by our own research that most emergency room visits are not real emergencies, we stayed home and applied good old-fashioned home remedies.They seemed to work every time.
Don’t get me wrong. We’ve gone to the emergency room more than once over the years, and we’ve seen a doctor a number of times as well, but both our children had been very fortunate when it came to injuries or sickness. Nothing serious had ever happened to Sarah or David. This was decidedly different. Apple cider vinegar, honey, and lemon juice thrown in for good measure, were not going to be the answer.
Let’s Phone a Friend
Ted and I quickly decided to talk with Butch, a friend in the medical supply field. He knew every doctor in the area. He suggested a local doctor who once played on our church’s softball team. I knew him by name only and learned he no longer took new patients. But after Butch related our situation, he agreed to see us. That led to an x-ray, and things really began to escalate.
After the x-rays came back, we returned to the doctor’s office. He said he couldn’t tell anything from the film and suggested we see my orthopedic surgeon who was looking after my fractured kneecap. That’s a whole different story. I slipped and fell in a grocery store on Super Bowl Sunday just weeks before this all started. When it rains it pours.
On we went to doctor number two. My knee doctor, as I frequently called him, looked at the x-ray and said he couldn’t tell much either. My husband asked if an MRI would be helpful. The doctor quickly agreed and made the appointment. Later with the MRI in hand, my orthopedic surgeon said he wanted to talk with a pediatric oncologist he knew at a clinic in the northern part of our state. I had no idea what lay ahead of us. Incidentally, I refer to doctors by number to let you know how many physicians play a role in cancer therapy. In our case, nearly a dozen were involved, including seven oncologists.
We are a Christian family and relate our experience with cancer from that point of view. But please keep in mind my goal for this book. I hope to help you and yours survive the rigors and mind-numbing stress of standard cancer treatment. It is designed to be just what the cover suggests: a survival guide for families coping with standard cancer therapy. Again, that means chemotherapy, radiation and, if necessary, surgery. Particular emphasisis is put on children, because that was our experience with our daughter Sarah.