Dear Mom and Dad,
You’ve had many names over the years from your children: G-Momma and G-Daddy, Mommy and Daddy, The Unimommer and Papa Nuke…I could go on and on. However, one I’m sure you never expected to have is “Caretaker.”
I’m sure that 24 years ago when you met your little girl for the first time, you never expected to have to do and see any of the things that you’ve dealt with involving my cancer.
Cancer did many things for me, and one of those things was strengthening the relationship I have with my two amazing parents.
So this letter is to say two things. The first is, I love you both SO very much, and the second is to say thank you.
Thank you for waking up at 3am when I was screaming in pain from a tumor pushing on my ribs to hold my hand and talk to me until I was able to fall asleep again.
Thank you for taking mom and I out for Valentines Day ice cream and preventing that day from being a scary, awful, painful day of scans and tests shortly after my cancer diagnosis.
Thank you for making sure my movie collection at the Houston apartment was stocked full of awesome movies to watch.
Thank you for the breakfasts you cooked me in the apartment every morning you were there. Especially the cheesy eggs.
Thank you for buying special devices to grind or cut the pills I couldn’t take when they were too big.
Thank you for being the worlds best problem solver and having a solution to every single problem I could throw at you(there were a lot).
Thank you for all the times you went out and got me literally EXACTLY what I wanted when I had cravings during chemo, and remembering those cravings when I didn’t want to eat later on.
Thank you for all the things you carried for me when I was hurting or weak and couldn’t lift my own arm.
Thank you for sitting peacefully for hours on end in hotel rooms when all I could manage to do was sleep.
Thank you for holding me while I cried the day that my hair started falling out in clumps, and for all the times after that where you reminded me how beautiful I looked without hair.
Thank you for reserving and paying for hotel accommodations while we were in Austin for ACL so I could have fun between chemo treatments. I had an amazing time there with my little sisters.
Thank you for taking me out for dinner and a movie as our tradition before every chemo treatment. It was such a blessing to have that time with you.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to leave and have a job to come back to after cancer.
Thank you for springing into action after my diagnosis to learn everything you possibly could about my cancer and the drugs they were using for chemo, and for organizing it neatly into my hot pink “Battle Binder.”
Thank you for washing my hair like a child at the beginning of my treatment when I couldn’t manage to do it myself.
Thank you for helping me find scarves and hats I liked. Also, for modeling said scarves with me and taking selfies.
Thank you for all the times you yelled at nurses when I wasn’t being cared for to my/your expectations. You were a nightmare to inattentive nurses everywhere.
Thank you for the numerous times you drove me in tears to the ER in the wee hours of the night, and for using your supermom powers to get me seen quickly when I was neutropenic.
Thank you for taking me shopping or buying me new clothes every time mine got too big for me to wear. I know the intense weight loss frightened you and I both.
Thank you for all the meals you cooked for me. Especially for hauling your huge wok up to the Houston apartment just to make me my favorite fried rice.
Thank you for being a constant source of motivation and encouragement for me throughout my journey, and always being there to listen when I needed to talk or in chemo when I “didn’t know what I was crying about.”
Thank you for getting certified and learning how to do a dressing change, and for keeping my CVC clean and infection free for 15 months. I’ve bragged about this to several nurses and doctors and they were very impressed. It’s quite a feat.
Thank you for the numerous times you stood in the bathroom and rubbed my back or comforted me during my most intense nausea, and for all the cold rags you’ve retrieved to put on my neck.
Thank you for shaving my head, and for telling me it made me look like a supermodel. Also, for taking me on my first wig shopping trip and making it fun.
Thank you for sitting on the hotel patio with me while we drank a glass of wine the night before my surgery. You have no idea how nervous I was.
Thank you for all the recliners and makeshift hospital pull-out beds you slept on when I wanted or needed human interaction with someone other than a nurse in the hospital. Having you there made it 100% better.
Thank you for all the times you had to push me around in a wheelchair when I was too weak or tired to walk on my own. I never had to know how to wheel myself around cause you were always there to push me. I’m sure you enjoyed the workout session you got in the process.
Finally, to both of you,
Thank you for all of the time you took off of work to care for me. I know this was the biggest sacrifice that both of you made and you both made it work so perfectly. Thank you for all the time you had to sacrifice away from each other when one of you had to be with me in Houston at all times.
Thank you for dealing with the crazy mood swings involved with chemo and for waiting on me hand and foot when I wasn’t capable of doing things myself.
Thank you for forcing me to move back in. I could never have done this on my own.
Thank you for the two vacations you took me on to Colorado and California. They took my mind off of cancer and it was great to see places other than Houston for a change.
Thank you for driving me around Houston and for all the effort you put into avoiding bumps in the road so I didn’t hurt.
Thank you for encouraging or even making me eat when I refused. I know I am very stubborn without chemo, so this is impressive.
Thank you for all the prescriptions you filled and picked up. I know I had a lot of drugs to keep track of.
Most of all, thank you for reminding me every day with your words and actions how much you truly love me. Words could not ever express how much I truly adore and appreciate both of you for everything you are and have been to me in the past fifteen months. You are two huge sources of strength and you helped me lead a life that was damn near normal while I was fighting for it at the same time.
Your cancer free daughter(Also your favorite)
Sarah Kaitlin Tindell