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¨COME ON! TIME FOR SCHOOL!¨ I yelled up the stairs.
¨We're almost ready,¨ said Dension my oldest son.
They came running down the stairs and headed to the car. I grabbed my cup of coffee and headed out the door. As we were driving, my kids told me what subjects in school they?e learning so far. We arrived at Benton Elementary School. I watched the kids play as they went through the door, then I pull off and I went to work.
At the hospital I take care of sick patients and clean up their rooms. After a long while there, it's time for me to go grab the kids and go home. I arrived back at the school and Dension ran to the car.
¨Dension, where's Allison?¨ I said.
¨Oh he's at the nurse. He said he didn't feel good.¨
I got out the car and went in the school. As I was walking I felt anxious. I thought to myself, this is strange, but then again there's something telling me he's okay. I approached the nurse and she told me my son said his chest hurt and he's been coughing all day and is very weak. Then quickly a memory popped up in my mind: everything I was hearing went dead. I remembered these symptoms …..
No, no it couldn't be! Was what happened to my father happening to my six year old son? Then suddenly I heard.
“Mrs. Catherine umm… Mrs. Catherine.” I think you should take him to the hospital soon.
“Uh yeah I will... thanks,¨ I responded.
As we head home I drove feeling helpless. When we got home I scheduled my son an appointment. ¨It is first thing in the morning,¨ I told my oldest son. After breakfast I told Allison to get some sleep and hopefully he'll feel better after the appointment. Hopefully, I thought.
¨Mom, Mom! Wake up! Allison fell.¨
I popped up out of bed and ran towards Allison´s room and I saw him on the floor near the bathroom. Quickly I told Dension to go get my phone.
“Baby, Baby wake up!¨ I said repeatedly, then dialed 911.
They got here within minutes. While waiting I saw blood in my baby? mouth. The medical responders rushed upstairs and put him on the stretcher.
¨Do you wanna come with him?¨ said the paramedic.
¨I will be there with my oldest son.¨ I got in the car and raced to the hospital.
When I got there the nurse said I couldn't go back in the emergency room. ¨What? Wait? That's my son,¨ I said.
¨We know, but your son stopped breathing on the way here. The doctors are doing the best they can.¨
¨No!¨ I said. “I wanna see my son.¨
¨You will see him soon. I promise,¨ said the nurse. At this moment I dropped to the ground crying.
¨Mamma, everything's going to be okay,¨ said Dension. We just sat there for minutes crying.
After what seemed like hours of worry and grief, the nurse came up and said, ¨He's all right. You may come see him now, but the doctors needs to speak with you.¨
I felt comfort to know he was okay, but what was wrong? And why did this happen to my little boy? We arrived in the room and Allison was sitting there.
“Mom!” he said. I rushed to him and hugged him.
“Baby, I was so worried. Is he gonna be okay?” I asked the doctor.
¨No, unfortunately. Mrs. Catherine, your son is diagnosed with cancer. Any history of this Mrs. Catherine?¨
¨Lung cancer? My baby has cancer?¨ Then all of a sudden, everything went blank.
I woke up in a bed on a breathing machine. Dension was sitting next to me. I leaned up. “Where am I and where´s Allison?¨
¨Mom, he's in the other room. You´re in here cause you passed out.”
I got up and ran in Allison´s room. How could this happen and why my little baby boy? He's so harmless, wouldn't hurt anyone. Finally, I got to finish talking to the doctor.
“Now, as I was saying, Mrs. Catherine, did any of your family have cancer?”
There was a moment of silence. “Yeah,” I answered, “my dad died from it.”
The word “died” left a thought in my head. ”Is my little boy going to die?” I asked.
“Mrs. Catherine, don’t think that way. He just needs treatment and we’ll take it from there. But from now on he will have to remain hospitalized.”
“Okay,” I said. “Is there anything I can do?”
“ Not much,” said the doctor. “Just be supportive, hopefully he'll be okay.”
The word hopefully stuck with me. All night I stayed up calling family members.
“Oh No! I'll be there soon as I can,” said my sister Claren.
I thought about calling the boys’ father, but he left me when Allison was born.
I ended up calling him. I knew he would be busy or whatever so i just left a message.
“Hey, Brian, I know we haven't talked in a while but your son is very sick. He has, (as I started to cry) he has cancer. So if you get this message, call back as soon as possible.”
And then finally my phone rang. It wasn't him, but it was my mom and I quickly answered. “Hey, Mom, where have you been? I’ve been trying to reach you.”
“Honey I’m out of town. Why? What's going on sweetie?”
“Mom, Allison has . . . (I take a deep breathe) Allison has cancer.”
“What?” said Mom. “Catherine,what did you just say?”
“Mom, I said he has cancer. Please don't make me say it again.”
“Baby, this can't be happening. I lost your father. . .”
“Mom,” I interrupted, “don't say it.”
“Well baby I'll be there as soon as I can.”
I hung up and hugged Dension, waiting for Allison’s exam to be over. After he was finished they let us see him.
“Does he feel better?” asked Dension.
“No,” the doctor replied. “The tests take a long time to show results, plus he’ll have to keep taking them.”
After two months of pain, Allison had lost his hair and his skin was pale. I felt like I was drifting further away from him. Just a bad feeling that soon I would lose him, but I just kept on praying. All of my family members had come, everyone except his dad. Dension had to remain in school even though he wanted to stay with his brother.
Soon the doctor said Allison was doing well and all he needed was simple radiation therapy. I said, “Okay, we’ll give it to him.”
The doctor just looked at me. “Mrs. Catherine, this treatment costs $8600.”
I got angry wondering how I could come up with that kind of money. I don’t have insurance. “Please don't do this, please,” I begged. My family comforted me and said we would come up with the money.
Days later I knew my son was getting worse. I needed that money fast, so I contacted Allison’s dad again, and he answered this time. I stuttered as I spoke. “Didn't you get my message?”
“Yes,” he said.
“And you waited all these days to call back?” I asked.
“I'm sorry I just didn't know what to do. I haven't seen him since he was two months old. Is he okay?”
“No! He needs treatment but I can't afford it.”
“I'll be there as soon as I can,” Brian said.
“Okay, please hurry.”
My baby couldn't talk he was so weak, and all I could do was hold his hand and say, “Baby, you with me.”
I started to cry. I felt very scared that I was going to lose my boy. Then suddenly I heard a knock on the door.
“Who is it?” I said.
“It’s. . . it’s Brian.”
I quickly got up and headed to the door. I opened it and there he was. Part of me felt angry. What father abandons his child when it’s first born? I thought that's not important right now. I need to focus on my son.
“Hi,” I said.
“Hey Catherine, how you been?”
“I've been good,” I said, waiting for him to ask another question.
“Oh yeah, he’s in here. Come in,” I said.
Brian rushed up and hugged Allison. He started crying. I walked up to him and said, ”So how are we gonna get his treatment?”
“I’ll pay for it. I'll pay for everything. It's the least I can do after all those years I wasn't here for him.¨
I tried to avoid getting mad but I couldn't hold it. “Why?” I asked. He looked at me.
“Why did you leave us?” I started to cry. “You knew I couldn't take care of him alone. So why did you leave?¨
¨Catherine I'm sorry I was selfish,¨ he responded. ¨I didn't want to take care of a child.¨
I didn't want to sit here and argue in front of my sick son, so I just let it go. Brian left the room.
¨Where are you going?¨ I said.
¨I'll be right back, I promise.¨
Sitting in silence, I waited for the boys dad to get back. When he arrives back at the hospital he tells me he took care of everything and the doctor said Allison well get his treatment tomorrow. I was so relieved. I just knew I would be able to hear my baby's voice again. The next day Allison went in to treatment all of my family had came back. Dension was waiting with me he wanted to see Allison so bad. He hasn't played with him in almost 2 months since Allison got very sick. We waited all day for the nurse to come.
¨Yes,” I said.
¨Your boy going to be alright, he got through the treatment you can see him now.¨ We all rushed into the room and there's my baby looking at me.
¨MOM!¨ said Allison in a weak, broken voice.
¨Where am I?”
“You’re gonna to be fine baby,” I said in tears. ¨You´re gone to be fine.¨
Dension runs up and hugs him.
¨When can he go home mama?¨ said Dension.
¨The doctors says in about one to two weeks.¨
At this moment I was so happy I didn't want to leave the room, so I stayed there until it was time for him to go home. The next day Brian walked in the room. I thanked him for his help. He looked sad, so I asked him what's wrong.
He said, “You know how I got the money to get Allison his treatment?¨
¨Yes,” I said. “Why?¨
“I was supposed to use it to buy this medication for my grandma but I thought she would be fine for another week or so, but the doctors just called and said . . . She passed away.”
¨What? Brian why didn't you tell me?¨
“Because I knew Allison needed it.¨
I felt so bad that he had done this. I just hugged him and said I was sorry.
The day had come. Two weeks had gone by. It was time for Allison to go home. We gathered his things and headed to the car. Allison was still recovering, so we pushed him in a wheelchair. Once we got outside it was windy, but it felt good. The clouds were bright white, and birds swayed across them. I was so glad that Allison was able to enjoy it. I looked past the clouds and thought about my father. As he alway said, “ You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you fear.¨