Promise of a New Day: Reflection in the Midst of Cancer Chaos

Taking a moment each day to absorb all that is happening

When my sister was originally hospitalized, she was in the pediatrics ward because they didn’t know what was wrong with her. Aside from extreme and dangerously high levels of calcium, they had a lot of testing left to do. On that first night, I stayed in the hospital so that I could be with her and my mom.

My mom finally fell asleep from exhaustion at about 4 a.m., and as the sun began to rise, I knew that I needed a chance to breathe. I decided to go to the top floor to watch the sunrise. I had no idea that two long days later, she would be moved to five central upon her diagnosis of Hodgkin lymphoma.

That July morning was absolutely stunning. Watching the sunrise became a ritual for me. It was my respite from so many long and hard nights, and a chance to take a break before a steady stream of physicians would stroll in. It was that quiet time for myself before she woke for the day. Every day that she has spent at The Medical Center of Aurora (TMCA), I have done my best to go the family waiting room and watch the sunrise.

The poem below was written in August of 2014. We had spent eight long hours in the emergency room because of complications from her chemotherapy treatments. We got upstairs and she was finally sleeping, just as the sun was beginning to peek through the night sky. I snuck out of 519 and headed down the hall to watch it rise.

As the sun rises softly in the sky, I think about all the secrets that the moon holds from the night before. I stare into the patches of blue and wonder how we ended up here. How are we ever going to find the strength to make it through all that seems to be going wrong?

I see the streaks of pink, and they give me hope. Hope that so many have come before us and made it through. Hope that we may be able to do the same. That in the end, though things are hard right now, we will be okay.

The fluffy white clouds forming make me happy, but soon, my smile fades. I try to remember where it is that I am standing. That I need to prepare for the immense change that has befallen our lives and how to get ready. Too naïve to know that you can’t prepare for how different cancer will make our lives.

In the middle of it all sits a golden globe. The center of it all, is what I come to see. It is the dawning of a new morning. It will shine brightly, no matter how dark of a day may lie ahead. But for now, it is a ray of hope. A reminder that I have made it through another night and today is brand new day.

Hopefully, this will encourage other family members and caregivers to find that one thing-- a singular moment in each day to stop and reflect, a brief second to catch your breath and absorb the situation that you find yourself in. Hopefully you find that one thing to ground yourself when everything else seems out of your control. This is something that you get to choose to do. It is something solely for you and I promise, it’s worth it.