A Place for Bringing Hearts Together

It’s been a long two-and-a-half years since the moment my son Graham was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a rare eye cancer.

What we thought was a lazy eye turned into the diagnosis no one wants to hear: Cancer. He was just six months old.

After Graham’s cancer diagnosis, our lives went upside-down. We were introduced to the world of medical jargon, of treatments such as interarterial chemotherapy and radioactive plaque therapy. We watched as our son’s eye was removed and a prosthesis put in its place. We earned a stay at the Ronald McDonald House.

We received bad news then good news, then bad news again, then wait-and-see news. We have been scared and worried and happy and hopeful.

When your son is diagnosed with cancer, you’re beyond busy, but you can also feel isolated and lonely.

We Knew We Weren’t Alone

But while navigating this mental, emotional and emotional terrain, we knew we weren’t alone. All we had to do was log into CaringBridge for proof. There, nearly 400 people follow our journey.

And because of kind CaringBridge donors, our friends and family could support us.

It would have been so difficult for us to go on this journey without CaringBridge to connect us all.

We felt so supported through CaringBridge, which gave us the strength to be there for Graham. He has already been through so much in his short life, but because of the kindness we felt, we were able to be fully present for him. I think that accounts for the fact that he is such a happy kid despite all the pokes and prods and uncertainties.

A Safe Place for the Highs and Lows

CaringBridge helped our friends and family provide much-needed support, and the added benefit is that it’s a great tool to keep a medical journal. I can easily access the date of Graham’s sixth chemo treatment or how many times he’s been placed under anesthesia (30-plus and counting).

For me, CaringBridge is a place that not only recounts the highs and lows, the needs and the wants, but also hows and whys. And it’s all in one place, without any of the noise that comes with other social networks—and without any of the ads or security concerns, too. It is a place just for us, and families like ours.

It’s a place for bringing all of our hearts together, because love does indeed help us heal.

CaringBridge Will Always Be Here For Us

Many health journeys don’t end after a surgery. In our case, we will use CaringBridge for years, updating our site with the results from Graham’s frequent eye exams to be sure his cancer doesn’t return. And people know they can come there to communicate directly with us, to let us feel their love and support holding us up, especially on days where it feels like everything is crumbling.

Our CaringBridge journal will always be here for us to look back on, to remember what we’ve gone through and how far we’ve come.

And with your help, CaringBridge can exist forever, for the people who need it most. That’s why I’m asking you to consider a donation to make sure that’s always possible.

Yes! I want to donate to help support families like Graham’s!

Erica Kunert is a wife, mom of two and CaringBridge author. Her son Graham was diagnosed with retinoblastoma at only 6 months old.

  • Kelly Collins

    This post was written a long time ago, so I’m not sure if you’ll even get this, but my daughter was diagnosed with retinoblastoma last month and your description of navigating diagnosis, medical jargon and the ups and downs hit home for me. Thank you for capturing it, and I hope Graham is thriving!