WNWO news reporter talks about his family struggling with cancer
Wed, 27 Nov 2013 23:20:38 GMT —
Sharon Hale is the mother-in-law of WNWO reporter Chris Delcamp, and she is battling stage four stomach cancer.
"Cancer steals your peace. It does. It doesn't matter how it turns out," says Kelly Hale, Sharon's daughter.
Sharon is a retired factory worker, but now spends every Friday with Kelly, her only child, at the University of Michigan Cancer Center.
"You look around and think, my gosh, this place is as busy as a fast food drive thru. This is terrifying," says Kelly, referring to the infusion room at the hospital.
Just two short years ago, cancer was not on the radar of Chris's family. He and Kelly were living in Las Vegas with their baby girl, and were expecting their second.
"We just came home for a visit. It was our last visit before I was too pregnant to fly," recalls Kelly.
A visit to the doctor, for what was thought to be acid reflux, turned out to be a cancerous mass blocking Sharon's esophagus. Kelly made the only choice she could, saying "I just called [Chris] back home and said, my mom has cancer, and I'm not coming back."
So, seven months pregnant, and toting a toddler, Kelly became the caretaker for her mother.
Chris Delcamp spent the next few months looking for work, selling their Las Vegas home, and moving their entire life back to Kelly's home town of Trenton, Michigan.
Chris finished moving just one week before their second daughter was born.
Still, Kelly files all the forms, and attends every appointment, sometimes with our daughters, and Chris commutes an hour to work from Wyandotte.
Chris chose to tell the story of his family, not to make people to feel sorry for them, but rather because he knows first hand that cancer affects so many people.
He says he wanted others to know that they're not alone in the fight against cancer. And they understand what it's like to watch a person go from being fine one day.
Kelly says, "My mom is the most energetic person I have ever met."
Into someone almost unrecognizable.
"You watch them lose their hair. lose weight, lose their personality," says Kelly. "They get slower."
In our house, there is pain,and tears every day.
But like anyone would, we look for the silver lining.
"I always want to stay positive, and full of hope for my mom," says Kelly.
But that too is a daily battle.
"I refuse to believe that my mom isn't going to walk my daughter to her first day of school," Kelly says, as she starts to cry.
Lola, their oldest daughter, is only three, but she understands that something is wrong, and she tries to help the best way she can think of.
"I put my magic on Mimi's(Sharon) belly so she can get better," says Lola.
In truth, our two girls are why they say they can get out of bed in the morning, and as naive as people try to pretend children are, it's obvious that this experience is already shaping Lola's mind.
When asked what she wants to be when she grows up, Lola says, "A skin doctor, so I can make everybody feel better."
Sharon has gotten worse recently. The doctors decided to temporarily take her off chemotherapy, and they are hoping the decline in health is due to the treatment, and not the cancer.
Kelly's wish now, besides a miracle, is that the end of life can be more than just sadness and loss.
Kelly says, "I want to teach my girls that dying is a part of life, and like a newborn baby, it[life] should be cherished."
Everyone can learn a little something from the attitude of their three-year-old.
Lola says, "Don't worry momma, Mimi will get better. Because I'm doing my magic and everything."
And maybe we can all find the strength to stay optimistic.