Rare, My daughter’s faithful journey through cancer
by Paul Stepusin
When we started down this path, a path that we were not mentally or physically prepared for, our first feeling was one of complete disbelief—cancer—not our family, not our child.
As parents, Nancy and I always believed we knew what to do for our children, and we now were faced with a situation over which we had no control. That was and to this day still is the worst part of going through cancer. You wake up and go to sleep feeling that you should be doing something, but you are not sure what to do. As parents, we always believed that we should and must protect our children. Now we were faced with knowing that in this situation we were not able to protect Rebecca. As her father, this was the worst part.
Rebecca and I had talked about our goal to write a book some day. I am sure many of you have thought about writing a book as well. Many ideas came to mind but have always lacked a real deep- down passion to start writing. Now, for the first time in my life I had something to write about that I was passionate about. This is a story about our family’s journey down a path of uncertainty that was filled with new-found faith.
When we talked about writing this book, we wanted to tell this story from the many perspectives of the people who had touched our lives on this journey.
I also believe it is important for cancer patients to understand how their loved ones are feeling and to understand the effects on them, as well. Rebecca and I talked a lot about feelings: hers, mine, her mom’s, her brothers’, her friends’ and so on. I think it helps us to have a better understanding of life when we think of it from another’s perspective: a simple concept of empathy. I know it helped Rebecca and me.
Rebecca’s cancer involved many people who have supported us. There were many times I knew that Rebecca was not aware of my feelings like when she was in surgery, recovery, or
as we have come to call it, when she had “chemo brain.” Even though I was there with Rebecca, there were some innermost feelings Rebecca did not tell us about.
Rebecca’s story will be told from the perspective of her friends, family, diary excerpts and emails based on how she felt at the time. This has provided me with insights into her innermost feelings. It was critical in writing this book to understanding all her feelings and presents her side of the story.
Lastly, we wanted to express the feelings from our family and friends who have been with us, sharing our tears and laughter. Yes, we have laughed a lot—even about Rebecca’s cancer: That is just the way we, as a family, have always handled the life situations that have been thrown at us.
When we asked family members, friends, doctors and health care professionals to give us their perspective on Rebecca’s story, we did not share anyone else’s writing to keep each one’s own special message unique. One reason we wanted to tell this story is to let other families know how many people in this world care about them. In Rebecca’s case, there have been thousands of people affected by her cancer and that truly has been inspirational.