The Comforts of Home During Cancer Treatment

Nothing beats the comforts of home during our most vulnerable moments.

Dearest Woodstock,

Hey little birdie, how you doing? I know that you spend countless hours stuffed inside a handmade hat, but you take it like a champ. You have lain still for countless hours receiving every scan that she has had. I’m always waiting for a neon yellow glow when we turn off the lights each night.

You have waken up with blood, dried milk and drool coating your head. You lost a nostril along the way, from what? I can’t even remember. I’m worried that when they’re accessing her port one of these days, that you may lose your head. When she is vomiting everywhere, you don’t fly out of the splash zone. No matter how much abuse you endure, you are always right beside her. You never chirp a complaint, and I have never once witnessed you flap a wing in disgust. Or, more ghastly, try to fly the nest.

I mean no disrespect to the other animals she has been given through this. It’s not that they don’t provide a smile or a snuggly pillow or that they are loved any less. It is just that for some unknown reason, she chose you, the yellow bird. At night in the quiet of an oncology hospital room, you stay next to her providing endless comfort.

There have been a few occasions when I’ve questioned bringing you. But then I conjure up her worst moments in my head, and there you are. Considering just how much time you have spent in hospitals and doctor offices, you don’t get washed nearly as much as you should. Sad to say, but by the end of the day you aren’t on my mind. All that matters is that she knows where you are.

People often look at her strangely because of her affinity with you. Being a 28-year-old with a stuffed animal is something most don’t understand. I, too, am guilty of judging on occasion, wondering how it is that she can not get through without you. It’s at those times that I think of her worst moments, and I see you snuggled next to her and realize how important you are. This has been a very confusing and foreign experience. But through it all, you have been there.

You met my sister when she was believed to be a healthy 26-year-old woman. You were presented to her with a flower throw for Christmas. Nobody knew in that moment what you would come to mean to her. On the night she was diagnosed, we threw you in a bag with that throw for her to have. As she has spent crazy amounts of time in the hospital and clinic, you have been that one constant reminder of home.

We are, I hope, nearing the end for her cancer journey and headed down the road to recovery. I haven’t a doubt that you will remain next to her for it all. Psychologically, is that the healthiest situation for a grown adult? Who knows. But who am I, or others who haven't gone through what she has, to judge.

You, my yellow friend, have done more for her than anyone will ever understand. Even when this extraordinary journey ends, know that I will always be indebted to the yellow 16 inches that is you.