I was sitting on a chair after a blood test waiting for my turn. I was there in hospital for my 4th chemo and waiting for admission process to be completed. As I was looking around I saw a cute little child sitting on her mom’s lap with bandaged leg. Seeing a cute little kid in oncology department was really saddening!
By that time I had had 3 chemos and I was completely aware how terrible it was! When I saw that child smiling unaware of forthcoming painful treatment, tears welled up in my eyes. “How can that child bear all the pain?” I feared.
When I was in R-4 ward, on the other bed next to me there was a small girl, age of 5 or 6 years. She had a tumor in her brain but paying no heed to that she was in her own world playing, talking and giggling! Her mom told, “I don’t how my daughter will bear the pain? So we are planning to go for some ayurvedic or some other kind of medicine which wouldn’t give her much pain.” Her worries were natural and I guess taking such a decision wouldn’t have been easy for them!
Whenever I saw her, I wished I was a small girl like her. If I were small like her, I wouldn’t have known about death, I wouldn’t bother about life, I wouldn’t have the fear of leaving my loved ones!! I wouldn’t be aware of things happening around me, there wouldn’t be room for any question which could dishearten me! I could have sobbed loudly whenever I was hurt! A chocolate could have made me joyful! But unfortunately I was grown up and I could understand everything!
Recently I came to know about Mariah, a girl who had osteosarcoma. The journey of Mariah and her mom Laurie was not so easy. The struggles of Laurie as a mother and her endeavours to bring her daughter’s life back to normal are indeed admirable.
Laurie separated from her husband after struggling for years with infertility; but that didn’t stop her from wanting a child. She traveled to china and adopted a girl child, Mariah and became a mother. Eleven months later, Laurie went to the courthouse to finalize her adoption of Mariah. Unfortunately that same afternoon she found out that a bump on Mariah’s left ankle was a malignant bone tumor. Mariah was just two years old!!
Mariah was needed chemotherapy to kill the tumor. Then her left leg must be amputated below the knee. She was just two years old! It might have been a year since she started walking and she bumped into such an ordeal! It wasn’t easy for Laurie too. She yearned to have a child for years. When she adopted Mariah she had thought her life would be blissful with her daughter but everything went upside down!
After chemo and amputation Mariah got her new leg. Mariah is now on her fifth leg. She will need several more before she is full-grown.
Initially, Mariah’s school life wasn’t as easy as ABC. Her schoolmates were afraid of her as she was different from them; she was having a prosthetic leg! To ease the fears of Mariah’s schoolmates, Laurie often goes to Mariah’s classes to talk to them about her daughter’s prosthetic leg. She drew some pictures on the white board and spoke frankly to the kids about tumors and cancer. “The tumor had to go and that meant Mariah’s leg had to go,” she told the class. She recalls, Mariah taking off her leg and passing it around. After that, nobody thought of Mariah as “different.”
Though she spent several months of hospitalizations, painful treatments, surgeries, and complications she is doing well in her school including bike riding, cross country skiing, gymnastics, softball, and wall-climbing! Mariah’s attitude is “Hey, I can do it, just like you.”
It has already been 10-12 years and they have successfully faced all the challenges. Laurie knows that as Mariah grows up there will come more challenges, but this family is prepared for whatever the future hold. As Laurie says, “You always compare things to cancer: Is it as bad as cancer? Nope. We can do it.” That’s true. When we compare our problems with cancer, the problem wouldn’t be a problem anymore! Mariah is an epitome of courage and I hope she will get all the happiness in the world.