Lessons learned from my daughter who had #childhood cancer
My daughter, #TaylorMatthews, was diagnosed with #childhoodcancer at eleven years old. Her only symptom was shortness of breath while playing sports, which her pediatrician believed was caused by exercise-induced asthma. You can imagine our shock when a follow-up routine pulmonary exam revealed Taylor had cancer.
From day one, Taylor would not allow cancer to stop her from living a full life. She was a force of nature, a kid with cancer, never a “cancer kid.” She simply refused to let it define her. Time and time again, she endured her cancer treatments and then quickly rebounded despite pain and life compromises. I found it incomprehensible that she could concentrate on the next item on life’s agenda and look past the hurdles. But, she made the most out of every day, living life on her own terms. Cancer was a sideline even though it infiltrated almost every aspect of our lives.
The very best medicine Taylor received came in the form of #love and #laughter. She was a trickster at heart, always scheming to have fun. Nothing changed when she got sick. Taylor was not a victim but rather, she was living proof to friends, family and medical professionals alike that cancer and fun do go hand-in-hand.
Taylor’s exuberance was infectious and the hospital staff adored her. Taylor and our family pushed the envelope in every way possible. Many times when we were told no, she was too sick to do this or that, we did it anyway, and the memories in our hearts prove it was well worth it. She seemed unstoppable, making even the most jaded #oncologists believe she would beat the odds.
In the end she ran out of time; there were no more options left to treat her and the cancer went rogue. Taylor lost her battle at sixteen years old, almost five years after her initial diagnosis.
Taylor’s love and concern for others lives on today through the #TaylorMatthewsFoundation, a tay-bandz organization, which she founded within the first few months of diagnosis. Her foundation, a 501 (C) 3 non-profit, is dedicated to raising awareness and funding pediatric #cancerresearch.
In memory and honor of Taylor, I co-authored the book, #PaintYourHairBlue- A Celebration of Life with #HopeforTomorrow in the Face of Pediatric Cancer.In addition to telling my story, weaved throughout this book are a myriad of #invaluableanecdotes and tips that will make the reader a far better warrior in the war on cancer.You will come away from the book with a vivid understanding of how truly short and #preciouslife is and a greater willingness to add more color as we go along.