Unsplash/ Bethany Beck
A Pennsylvania family is dealing with the unimaginable. Just months after Nicole Roche, a wife and mother of three young children, went public with her stage IV cancer diagnosis, her family faces yet another health emergency: Roche’s 4-year-old son, Wesley, was rushed to the ER last week where it was revealed there was a large, cancerous tumor on his kidney.
In the vulnerable yet hopeful post, Roche opened up about her fears and her faith, ultimately choosing to trust God’s sovereignty in the situation and “surrender” it all to Him.
“Nothing [God] does is without purpose,” Roche wrote, while divulging Wesley’s diagnosis. “God loves our son more than I ever could with my human heart, and He has a plan for both of us, and He has designed it this way for us to walk the road together.”
She added, “I didn’t choose this, but I’m ready for it, I accept it, and I surrender to it.”
That remarkable trust comes as Roche copes with navigating her own treatments as well as the unforeseen path ahead for Wesley, who has been experiencing a great deal of pain.
She opened her Facebook post by explaining the path she has been on in the months preceding Wesley’s shocking diagnosis — a discovery that plunged the family into two intersecting crises.
“Exactly two months ago today, I made the decision to go public with my cancer diagnosis and actively share my story, no matter which direction it went,” Roche wrote. “I felt deeply that this diagnosis was a much larger part of my life story, and not something to be hidden.”
While the mother of three knew “there would be curveballs” in her own journey, she said she never expected to see one of her children simultaneously face a cancer battle. Despite lamenting “there are no words” for what the family is going through, she bravely detailed her and Wesley’s dual battles.
Roche said she took Wesley to the emergency room Sept. 1 due to severe stomach pain. Far from a routine finding, doctors discovered the little boy has a cancerous kidney tumor, and began acting quickly to treat it.
Wesley was rushed to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and underwent surgery Tuesday to remove the tumor, which had continued to cause him great pain despite pain medications. The surgery, however, won’t be the end of Wesley’s cancer journey.
“He will have to go through conventional treatment after that: six rounds of chemo and radiation,” Roche wrote. “Our family’s story will now track the healing and recovery of two of its members instead of one.”
For anyone wondering, “What are the odds?” Roche said this is a question she, too, has pondered while navigating the intense emotions stemming from Wesley’s diagnosis.
Despite the lament, fear, anxiety, and pain stemming from such a complex situation, Roche shared how she is in a “place of peace and calm” and believes her family will make it through this dire situation.
“I know Wesley is a strong boy and will recover,” she added. “But as I rest in that peace, I also am absolutely floored by the strange, surreal nature of it all. I’ve almost been feeling out of body lately, just completely awestruck that this is reality.”
Roche asked the public for prayer for Wesley, her husband Alex, and her family as a whole.
In a follow-up Facebook post Monday, Roche wrote she and her family are remaining positive and optimistic, but also explained the true difficulty of what they face. Roche, who is understandably exhausted, specifically addressed the pain and struggles Wesley experienced before his surgery.
Over the past few days, the Pennsylvania mother and wife wrote she has been stunned to see her son’s bravery and hopes to reflect on it more as she faces her own treatment qualms and fears.
“Wes is so much braver than I have been,” she admitted. “He makes me want to be strong like him and face my own treatment with more bravery. I don’t know if I’ll ever be comfortable with needles, ports, chemo, radiation … any of it. But if my baby is about to walk that road, then I will walk with him. I’ll be as brave as I can for him. He deserves that from me.”
Roche also praised those around the family who have come alongside them during this difficult time.
“Never underestimate the power of community when it comes together with purpose and love,” she added.
Now, with a second member of the family embarking on a journey to defeat cancer, both the emotional and financial burden have increased exponentially.
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