My daughter was 18 months old when she was diagnosed with a rare tumor. This required 10 months of weekly, in-patient, and out-patient chemotherapy, and one month of radiation. We had 15 life-threatening trips to the ER and spent 120 days/nights in two different hospitals. We've also helped her to have at least 20-25 MRIs, CTs, internal exams, and more.
Both my husband and I continued working full-time while taking care of our daughter. 15 months ago, she was declared NED (No Evidence of Disease) after 40-some weeks of chemo. She has since excelled in preschool, fallen in love princesses and candy, and will not stop talking! She is your average, wonderful, silly, amazing 3 year old...who happens to be a cancer survivor.
Our journey is far from over though. She could have lifelong side effects from the treatment and we still get follow-up scans every 3-4 months. If she has clean scans for two years, the risk of a relapse drops drastically. But she won't be considered cancer-free until she has five years of clean scans. Every day my husband and I both live with PTSD, anxiety, depression, and recovery from trauma.
Being strong doesn't mean ignoring your weaknesses. It means acknowledging them and working through them, even if that means breaking down in tears. Being strong doesn't mean you don't break down; it means you get back up. My strength comes from therapy, acupuncture, yoga, and trying to find the good in every day. And most importantly, remembering to take care of myself so I can take care of my family.