A Childhood Cancer Survivor Blogging about the World of Childhood Cancer

Posts tagged ‘Grace’

Let There Be Grace

Grace: A Child's Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery

Do you ever have days where your emotions are mixed with joy, sadness, and every kind of emotion in between?  I can’t help the tears in my eyes right now, or the way they billow and bulge until they plop onto the desk in front of me.  I heard yesterday what I have been hoping is not.  I heard my friend Soozie is near the end of her life.

Soozie is not a child.

Soozie is young—way too young to leave this world, to bring her brilliant spirit with her.  Although I have only known her a year and we have never met face to face, I know Soozie will be a part of who I am for the rest of my life—whether she is here, or with our Father in Heaven. 

I first met Soozie when she sent me a very polite FaceBook message saying that her loving brother, Si, had bought her my book.  I believe Si was the very first person in his country to buy it! Soozie, or Susan at the time, told me about how her brother is her caretaker as she is fighting cancer. Ever since, I have delighted in her messages.  Every time I don’t hear from Soozie for awhile, I know she must be fighting.

After a long pause in her messages this past spring, Soozie sent me news I will treasure and truly cherish for the rest of my life. Do you know what Soozie did? Soozie loves horses, and she named her horse’s newborn miracle Grace!

This is Grace! Thank you Soozie.

Usually, I write about childhood cancer. Today is different.

Today I give thanks for life and for a friendship I will always have inside me– in this life and the next.

I love you Si.

I love you Soozie.

Thank you for helping me learn about Grace.

The Children Authors Show

On June 14th and 15th, my interview will be available for listening on The Children Authors Show.


Guess what incredible, amazing, unbelievable day it was today?

The very last day of my sophomore year of high school!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Whoa, I don’t believe there are enough exclamation points stored in my computer to express my tremendous relief. It has been a long and grueling 10th grade year. The overachiever in me nearly did me in. The bright spots have been dance, of course, my AP World History class with Mr. Houchin and my AP Biology class with Ms. Toshach. I would love to take AP Biology next year again– yep, I’m a “Bio-Nerd!”

And then, another huge highlight of this past school year has been working on Grace and Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery. It never seems like work when I am doing things for Grace. Today, yes, today, I received the final PDF pages to approve so that Grace can take her trip to the printing press. I will be spending my first free weekend from homework proofreading.

Also, the Civic Ballet is having their final performance of this season on Sunday night. Dress rehearsals, proofreading, more rehearsals and more proofreading. Ahhhhhhhhhh… isn’t summer wonderful?

Reason For Celebration!

If you could have just one thing in life, what would you wish for?

I would wish for my life!

Two years ago today, I finished my cancer treatments… yes, the year that followed treatments was even more difficult than during, but what a celebration to be done with treatment!  When I got home late this afternoon from Relay for Life book signing this morning, then rehearsing all day with NHS Dance Company, I found pink balloons in my room.  It was mom’s way of saying, “I love you… it’s a special day!”

I think I will gather stories from other survivors, and ask them what they did to celebrate their end of treatment.  Maybe they taped pink balloons and sticky stars to their heads and danced to “Funky Town?”  Maybe they wore Mickey gloves, or maybe they carried  a huge monkey donning a chef’s hat, apron, and a  basket of cookies. 

Or maybe that’s just me.

I know for sure that I am unbelievably grateful to be here.

Thank You Note From The White House

I am deeply honored this evening.  I received a thank you note from our President Obama, and his wife, Mrs. Obama.  I believe this means they received the first edition of Grace that I sent to them last December.  I love knowing they received it, and I love their lovely good manners:)  The note is special to me, and I will save it. 

It is interesting to me that things like this happen, and they inspire me to be a better person.  I am thinking of our President, and what he needs most from us, as citizens.  We can be the best citizens by being the very best person we can be.  That “best person” is different for everyone.  I guess that we just look for what we have in ourselves to pass on and bless others. 

Why is it that blessing others is the greatest blessing we can receive?

Dr. Joshua Schiffman

I don’t think I have told you that Dr. Joshua Schiffman, Medical Director, High Risk Pediatric Cancer Clinic Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Dept. of Oncological Sciences at the Huntsman Cancer Institute has agreed to write the Forword for Grace:A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery !  I am very, very happy about this for so many reasons!!!!!!!!!!!! 

I met Dr. Josh when he came to Cottage Hospital to “sub” for Dr. Dan during my fourth round of chemo.  Without spoiling the Forword, I will tell you that he and I have a lot in common.   I liked him so much when he took care of me that I made him a Giant Card in my “hospital art studio.”  Dr. Josh and Dr. Dan have something in common… they give and give and give and give so that children like me can survive. 

From Grace

    Next in my hospital art studio, was the creation of The Giant Card.  It was for Dr. Josh, and it was a 3′ x 5′ masterpiece, if I might say so myself.  I couldn’t merely make him a normal card– I wasn’t normal. 

     Coloring the huge, block letters, spelling out, “Thank You Dr. Josh,” I told Mom, “I want to give him something he has to lug around.”

     I taped and glued just about everything to it.  Examination gloves, medicine cups, sterile wipes, and those sticks they use to squish your tongue down, were all adorned with flashy, silvery glitter. 

     My lunch arrived right in the middle of my project.  I felt I was far too busy to eat, but quickly observed my food options.  Opening my bowl of soup, I found an unexpected item floating amid its brothy liquid.  Nurse Nancy and Nurse Gail surprised me– with a plastic fly swimming in my soup.  Laughing, I turned to them, and their sneaky expressions changed to smiles.  Ah… I loved it.  Thank God I didn’t get boring nurses.  I would have died, not of cancer but, of boredom.  We all decided that I should tape the fly on Dr. Josh’s card and, once it was securely fastened, I observed my work.  Beautiful.  He was going to love it.

Jeff Foxworthy, Dr. Wharam, and Cure Childhood Cancer

What an interesting project this book endorsement requesting is!  Being a teenager, and a first-time author, I had no idea that after you write a book, you need to “raise it.”  I am very fortunate to have someone who  has helped me tread through the murky waters of book publication, and I will never forget him telling me, “Now that you have published Grace, you need to raise her!”  What the heck does that mean?  Well, I am finding out.  I was just so deliriously happy at this time to be holding my words in book form, I didn’t really care if anyone ever read it!   It is such a funny process… it’s like when you put some corn kernels in a pot, turn it on, and then things start to crackle and pop. 

Crackle and Pop… I am ready for the popping sounds to reach ear-popping decibals.

Jeff Foxworthy is a Hero for Kids!

Did you know that Jeff Foxworthy has been a fundraising chariman for Duke Children’s Hospital for fifteen years, and he has worked with Camp Sunshine in Atlanta for over a decade. I have to say that this touches my heart so deeply… that he would commit to help sick children for many years.  He is genuinely concerned for cancer kids, and he shows it by giving his time, and by giving from his heart. 

Can I share with you the latest gift he has shared with a “cancer kid?”

Jeff Foxworthy wrote me a kind, encouraging, supportive, and inspiring email, and guess what?!

 Mr. Jeff Foxworthy wrote a beautiful book endorsement for Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey through Cancer and Recovery!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I can tell by his words that he really does spend time with kids who are battling cancer.  In this world that is becoming more and more devoid of people we can look up to for an example of how to live our lives, Jeff Foxworthy has given me something to reach for.  Integrity is a wonderful thing to share.  Please excuse me while I go cry happy tears.

Grace – Cough Medicine Excerpt

I wish that my mind could be permanently wiped clean of the memories of my cough medicine. I want so much to be able to see that little, evil, orange bottle in the cabinet and not involuntarily shiver and cringe. Imagine the most rancid, disgusting substance on planet earth and multiply it by 1,000. Wah-lah! My cough medicine. I can recall myself scrunched up in rollie-pollie position while I desperately downed Hall’s and warm tea…nothing worked.

copyright by Melinda Marchiano, author of Grace

Grace – Chest x-ray Excerpt


     As I stood there, splattered against the target board like a swatted fly, I prayed for results. I prayed for death. Not of me, but it. After I had changed back into my own clothes in the tiny, curtain-closed room, I emerged.

     “Can we see them?” I heard Mom ask the technician.

     “Sure,” he replied, tilting the computer screen slightly toward us.

     Woh, it was my chest. White areas illustrated bones, tissues, and organs… I saw a lot of it. My invasive blob was quite apparent and I silently snarled at it; it didn’t answer back. It was so weird staring at myself, but being myself all at the same moment. It was confusing to my mind, this being the first personal x-ray it had seen.

     “Wow, that used to be all white there,” Mom observed, pointing to a dark, black area.

     I held my breath, I was overjoyed.

copyright by Melinda Marchiano, author of Grace

Grace – Discovery Excerpt

     “I think we finally found it,” my mom told me as she shut off the car.  

     “I think that we might have found the culprit… I just have a feeling.”

     I stared at one old, worn out paint line in the parking lot. It was white and rough, stopping at one point before continuing on. Strange the things we remember. I could literally recreate the entire experience… not that I would want to or anything.

     The last thing my mom told me as I stumbled out of the car was, “Whatever we find, we’re going to get it.”

     Why are doctor’s office clocks so loud? They seem to “death tick,” each second a loud clunk that makes your heart leap. The room was really cold, and I had goose bumps and the chills. I examined the little, clear jar of cotton balls for a few minutes, and then, I heard the door opening. Every hair on my body stood on end. I had a weird tickle in my stomach that I blamed on breakfast. Dr. Gonzalez wore her usual, glowing grin, but a look in her eyes displayed great concern. She greeted us and perched atop her stool. All was quiet for just a moment, and then she began.

     “Well, we found something on your CT.”

     She hesitated, and a millisecond of relief came over me, but it was just that, one teeny-tiny ounce of joy before my entire world melted around me.

copyright by Melinda Marchiano, author of Grace

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