A bomb, a tsunami, an Everest. The vocabulary is not always strong enough to describe the daily life of parents confronted with cancer or their child’s serious illness. Laurent Lalo, who had already recounted this ordeal in a book, had the idea of bringing together other families, all over France, to share their intimate experience of the disease. This call gave birth to the collective work Looks, published by the solidarity publishing house Les Plumes d’Ocris (1).
More than thirty parents tell the story of the ground that is collapsing under their feet and the incredible courage of these young patients, deprived of their childhood life and faced with often invasive care.
“No one can imagine the number of examinations and painful acts that my daughter has undergone”, confides Anne-Laure’s mother, diagnosed shortly before the age of 14 with blood cancer, after two months of “Small symptoms seemingly unrelated to each other” (colds, dull complexion, pain, intense fatigue…).
Fight fought out of sight
From this fight carried out out of sight in pediatric oncology services, where moments of joy and solidarity also unfold, some people will often come out of it growing up. But not all. Especially since there are still very aggressive cancers, neither curable nor operable. Like the infiltrating glioma of the brainstem, discovered in Enguerrand after loss of balance. “We had nine to twelve months, at most, to take advantage of him”, writes his mother. Difficult to read this book in one go, so much emotion is on the surface.
“The common point in our stories is fighting spirit but also a lot of love”, comments Marie Thibaud, who retraces the long road to the recovery of her son Alban, affected by leukemia at 4 years old. “We also all ask ourselves the question of why …” Prefaced by chemist André Cicolella, president of the Environment and health network, this book also sounds like an invitation to act to prevent these diseases: “This book is anything but a complaint, it is a collective call to refuse what is presented as fatality. ” Its sales are donated to the federation Growing Up Without Cancer, which recalls that 500 children die from it each year in France.