Life as a sibling of a child with Cancer

9 Feb

I know first hand what happens to a family when a child is diagnosed with Cancer!

Life crumbles in an ineluctable manner, the world you’re living in changes forever!

You wake each morning to the realisation that this is reality! You’re powerless to make it stop, this frequent perturbing feeling that overcomes you, so powerful, you could vomit.

There’s no warning, you don’t get a say in it, it doesn’t matter that you’re hurting, that it’s causing your family to fall apart all around you… its Cancer, there’s no simple answers, nothing is no longer simple, your inferior to its powers as it goes about damaging all that you love in a pervasive manner.

You see, it’s not easy being 10-years-old, the older sibling of a child infested with Cancer, a 10-year-old filled with befuddlement, yet knows enough to understand the seriousness of the situation just by seeing her father cry!

Life suddenly becomes a waiting game, one minute you’re out playing with your friends, the only worry you have, is what time you need to be in for your tea, next, you’re suddenly worrying whether that thing your mother refers to as “Cancer” will allow your baby sister to live another day.

When my 2-year-old sister was diagnosed as having ‘Acute Myeloblastic Leukaemia’ it was if time stood still, yet those around me continued on with life in the same way they always had. You, your family, are unable to look to the future as your apprehensive at what that future may hold!

Life becomes dark, really dark, regardless of the sun that’s actually shining, your world just remains a shadow of lingering darkness, there’s no longer the sound of laughter throughout the home, just this scary vibe of the unknown. Your mother tries with that false smiley face, she does for your benefit, yet you know inside she’s crying as inside you’re crying too!

I sit by my sisters hospital cot, I take her tiny bruised hand the one covered in sticking medical tape to hold the plastic tube in place, in my head I beg God “Please don’t take her away from me and my family”

She’s so weak, looks so fragile, yet she looks up at me with her big blue tired eyes and still manages to show me her beautiful smile. My whole 10-year-old body is swamped with emotions of both love, sadness and fear, yet I don’t know how to deal with it… I just don’t know!

There are day’s I’d sit on the stairs listening to my mothers sobs, the ones she would let out when she thought no one was around, her heart breaking for her tiny little daughter fighting for her tiny life… as a mother powerless to make it better, I can only imagine how she must have felt.

Relationships broke down between a mother and father, both on the same side, yet both dealing with life’s evil turn in their own way.

With each milestone my sister made, another blow sat waiting. Finally discharged from the hospital, she would all to often be whisked back to what was now her home just a few hours later. A simple cough or sneeze could make her so very poorly, yet I yearn to cuddle her, wrap my arms firmly around her and hold her tight.

A shadow of her once lively self with every beautiful blonde hair no longer upon her tiny head she just braved everything life throw at her! Embarking on a long whining road of Radiotherapy, Chemotherapy, Infections and endless doses of antibiotics, month after month this little girl refused to give in, she just kept on going.

That beautiful 2-year-old toddler is now a beautiful 22-year-old woman with her own beautiful 2-year-old blonde blue-eyed daughter!

This journey may have started some 19 years ago but I’ll never forget what its like to be part of a family where a child has Cancer, a life threatening illness that took ahold of them so suddenly… I never thought my story would end like this, I honestly thought that my little sister would fly off & play with the angels, yet here I am telling you this, sharing this ending that I will forever and ever be thankful for.

My younger brother ‘Joseph’ (then 7, now 26) with my little sister ‘Rachel’ shortly before diagnosis

I was inspired to write this post to share my experiences of being a sibling to a child with Cancer, by the lovely Nickie O’Hara, who blogs over on the blog Typecast. Nicky is a mother who can relate to my own, therefore doing a wonderful job in helping the “CLIC Sargent” (a charity supporting children with Cancer) to raise awareness of its Yummy Mummy week which commences on the 10th-18th March 2012.Click here for info on Yummy mummy week

By posting a selection of blogging prompts over a 4 week period, Nickie hopes to get us as all joining in and doing something yummy, by choosing a prompt, blogging about it and linking up on a Thursday… This is week two and I was inspired by the prompt “ Yummy post: What happens to a family when a child is diagnosed with Cancer? How do Siblings, parents cope?”

To check out the other prompts, gain more information on the awareness campaign or the Yummy mummy week, visit Nickie over on Typecast where you’re also be able to read many more post supporting this worthy cause.

11 Responses to “Life as a sibling of a child with Cancer”

  1. Nicola Cooper-Abbs February 17, 2012 at 2:45 pm #

    Thankyou for sharing and for taking part in #dosomethingyummy x

  2. quirkyandlaughing February 13, 2012 at 6:51 pm #

    Wow – what a post. That could easily be expanded into a very moving book. I’m so happy your sister beat it.

  3. Debbie JJ February 11, 2012 at 8:04 pm #

    Thank you for sharing. I can’t find the words to explain what an incredibly moving post.. x

  4. Clairelouise February 11, 2012 at 1:04 pm #

    Thanks for the comments. Mum sister doesn’t remember to much through she was seriously I’ll for around 2 years plus. She remembers being 7 and go in fir checkup once clear. It was very hard, I only realised how hard when I grew up. Clairelouise.x

  5. Mummy Whisperer February 11, 2012 at 10:07 am #

    Wow, we always think about what the parents feel – but to hear what a sibling feels is really important. You must post this lots for other people to read.

    How did your sister feel about it – does she remember much?

  6. ghostwritermummy February 11, 2012 at 8:37 am #

    What a beautiful, moving post. Thank you so much for sharing

  7. Caroline February 9, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

    Wow, doesnt your little brother look like your son G?!!

  8. Expat Mammy February 9, 2012 at 4:27 pm #



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