I am a: wife, mother, sister, daughter, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, close friend, co-worker, associate, volunteer, teacher, chef, taxi driver, counselor, housekeeper, gardener….. the glue of our family. I am also a cancer survivor, as is my family. We were diagnosed with cancer 5 years ago and we are still living with it.
My name is Emily Damon. My husband, Patrick and I have been married for 12 years. We have three children. Austin, 12, Caitlyn, 10, and Allyson, 7. We are busy like other families that we know. We are committed at church and volunteer on a regular basis. Our children are involved in sports. We have work schedules and school schedules to juggle. We have a house and garden to tend, and a never-ending laundry pile. We have bills to pay and struggle to make ends meet. We run kids here and there and listen to sibling rivalry. We feel overwhelmed with life at times and are reenergized by family and friends. We also have cancer. Although I carry the physical aspect of cancer, our family continues to learn and adapt to living with cancer, yet it is still a struggle.
I was diagnosed with cancer on July 27, 2007. I remember that day like a birthday or holiday, but it was far from anything joyous and exciting. I was 27 years old. The diagnosis of stage 3C ovarian cancer still baffles my doctors, as this type and stage of cancer is typically seen in women in their mid-sixties or later. Not a twenty-something, stay-at-home mom of three young children. In the past 5 years, I have been through 10 surgeries, 50+ rounds of chemotherapy, lost my hair three times and countless scans and doctor’s appointments. Although I have had breaks in treatment and received ‘no evidence of disease’ scan results, I continue to deal with recurrent disease and have yet to be in remission. I am still on chemotherapy with the possibility of starting radiation soon. At best, my doctors are hoping to continue to manage the cancer. I am still hoping to be cured.
Cancer has affected every minute detail of our lives in ways that I never could have imagined. It’s not only the physical aspect of cancer and the treatment, but also an emotional, spiritual and financial toll on our marriage and our family. We seek regular counsel professionally and spiritually to help each of us work through emotional pain of fear, loss and to understand why and how to keep living.
We have had a tremendous support system to help us along the way. Our family, friends and many whom we have never met have helped with so much. Providing meals, childcare, and Christmas gifts for our children are just a few. Many have provided gift cards for groceries and monetary gifts to help pay medical bills. We also have our family and close friends who continue to help us escape this reality, even if for a little while.