A Mother’s Thoughts from the Hospital Bedside

by Jackie Fife
May 5, 2014

Jackie is mom to Hayden, 5, who is currently in treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common cancer in children. Hayden is one of five St. Baldrick’s 2014 Ambassadors.

Hayden and Jackie laughing
Being a mom to a child who is fighting cancer is full of emotions that are beyond words. I live each day with hope in my heart and fear in my mind — hope for the day Hayden is cured, and fear for the unknown he faces to get to that finish line.

As I write this, he lies in the hospital bed just feet from where I sit. He is in pain from liver issues that were brought on by the chemotherapy that is meant to save his life but is currently making him quite sick.


Hayden awaiting a lumbar puncture, a common procedure in the treatment for his type of childhood cancer.

I remember being 5. All I knew was playing outside, riding bikes, and playing hide-and-seek. But my son, at 5, knows hospitals, needles, medicines, and more stomach aches and pains than anyone can imagine.

My husband and I try to keep his life as normal as possible by doing things like enrolling him in T-ball, but it still seems that the stupid cancer tries to get in the way. Hayden looked at me earlier with a concerned look on his face and asked me if he was going to be getting out of the hospital in time to get to play his ball games.

This is a worry he shouldn’t have. It broke my heart to hear him say this. He deserves a chance at “normal” — just plain old normal! He deserves the chance to play T-ball and baseball, a game he truly loves. But most of all, he deserves a chance at a long, happy life.

So tonight, before I try to doze off here at the hospital, I know I will lie staring at him for a while with a feeling of helplessness that I can’t simply wave a magic wand over him, make him better, and give him the normal he deserves.

All kids deserve the chance to live normal, healthy lives, and mothers shouldn’t have to worry about what their kids are missing. Help cure childhood cancer — donate to children’s cancer research.

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