This book is not intended to be autobiographical. Instead, I wanted to blend basic technical information in easy-to-understand language with stories and advice from many parents and children. I wanted to provide the insight and experiences of parents, who have all felt the hope, helplessness, anger, humor, longing, panic, ignorance, warmth, and anguish of their children's treatment for cancer. I wanted parents to know how other children react to treatment, and I wanted to offer tips to make the experience easier.
Obtaining a basic understanding of topics such as medical terminology, common side effects of chemotherapy, and how to interpret blood counts can only improve the quality of life for the whole family suffering along with their leukemic child. Learning how to develop a partnership with your childs physician can vastly increase your familys comfort and peace of mind. Hearing parents describe their own emotional ups and downs, how they coped, and how they molded their family life around hospitalizations is a tremendous comfort. Just knowing that there are other kids on chemotherapy who refuse to eat anything but tacos or who have frequent rages makes one feel less alone. My hope is that parents who read this book will encounter medical facts simply explained, will find advice that eases their daily life, and will feel empowered to be a strong advocate for their child.
The parent stories and suggestions in this book are absolutely true, although some names have been changed to protect children's privacy. Every word has been spoken by the parent of a child with cancer, a sibling of a child with cancer, or a childhood cancer survivor. There are no composites, no editorializing, and no rewrites—just the actual words of people who wanted to share what they learned with others.
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