23 year old K’rinna discovered she had stage II cervical cancer while she was pregnant. She was diagnosed in July after feeling like something was wrong with the pregnancy. At the time, they had to deliver the baby early by c-section for fear the cancer would spread at delivery. Instead of the expected celebration of their new addition, the young family is faced with a devastating cancer diagnosis. At the time she was working but her employer started to rotate her off the schedule. Finances are tough. Since her diagnosis, she has had one surgery and has two more before the end of the year. She is finishing six rounds of chemotherapy and six weeks of daily radiation by the end of this month. Her greatest challenge is getting out of bed and facing treatment that makes her too sick to do what she normally needs to do… like work and care for her children. But she comes to treatment every day with a smile on her face and an upbeat attitude, despite what she reveals to me behind closed doors. She only wants to be healthy for her family and for everyone to forget about the cancer. She says, “Cancer has changed everything.” She is very uncomfortable asking her family to rearrange their scheduling to accommodate her appointments but she knows she must follow through so she will be able to see her children grow up.
When asked for her Christmas wish, the answers were all about her family. They have a 6-year-old son who loves art and art supplies and would love a scooter or Wii games. But he mostly asks what he can do to help mom with his baby sister because he sees how bad she feels from her treatment. 3-year-old Trey is very active. Mom wishes they had a jungle gym for her parent’s backyard because they don’t have yard space at their apartment. She wishes they could afford a tricycle for the 3 year old to begin learning how to ride a bike. Because of her lost income, they had to pull him out of the daycare where he was learning colors and letters so she could also use some electronic educational toys.
With the diagnosis and treatment happening at the same time as the birth of Robbi, now 3 months old, K’Rinna said they haven’t even had the resources for her to have her own crib, high chair, baby monitor or baby toys. She doesn’t ask much for herself.. She thought a dinner out and maybe an overnight hotel getaway would be nice. K’Rinna can use some new items for their kitchen and maybe a dining table and chairs so her young family can be together at meal times. She says it scares her to think about treatment not working or the cancer coming back. She wants to make the most of this Christmas and spend it together as a family.
Thanks for whatever your listeners can do for this amazing young family.
Suzy Harmon, social worker, Anderson Cancer Institute at Memorial
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