Sherry Cain, mother of David Cain (17 years old), Everret, PA
What is your child’s diagnosis, and at what age did they receive it?
Tectal Glioma, age 13
Can you tell us a little bit about your child – their personality, hobbies?
David is a very outgoing young man. He makes friends easily and can strike up a conversation with anyone. He is funny and always makes people laugh. He is compassionate and will try to help other people feel better. David has a lot of hobbies and interests, including hunting, fishing, and playing guitar. He is now in his first year of college, where he has joined the honor society, intramural soccer team, and the student government association.
Can you share with us the feelings you had on the day your child was diagnosed?
I will never forget the day David was diagnosed. When they came in the room and told us, “inoperable brain tumor,” it felt like my legs couldn’t hold me up. It was like all the wind rushed out of me. David’s hydrocephalus was a crisis situation, so he was rushed to surgery ASAP. The doctors said they wouldn’t know more until after they monitored him for a few months. Then they left. I just went in the stairwell of the hospital and fell on the steps and sobbed until I could get control of myself enough to go back in his room and try to face my little boy that had just heard he had an inoperable brain tumor. I didn’t know how you ever recovered from a diagnosis like that. I couldn’t imagine what life would hold. I didn’t know how you would ever be able to smile again. I didn’t even know how to put one foot in front of the other. I don’t remember much later that day or even week after hearing that but I will never forget those first few minutes.
How does CBTF impact both your child’s and your family’s quality of life?
I don’t think I would have emotionally or mentally survived without CBTF. I found them on the Internet shortly after he was diagnosed, and they have been a lifeline ever since. They put me in touch with other mothers with children with brain tumors and I truly believe that if I had not had them to talk to, I would have lost my mind. All the families we have met and all the CBTF staff have helped us carry the weight of this diagnosis. On the days when we just can’t carry it anymore, they are there to carry it for us.
What do you want the licensing community to know about the realities of childhood cancer?
The reality is that childhood cancer is as close to hell as I can imagine it. It is the most horrible thing that you can imagine, times a billion. Cancer is cruel, evil, and cunning and you can’t battle it alone. You have to have a team and CBTF is a part of our team essential to our survival.