Twin Girls With Down Syndrome And Cancer: Does God Only Give Parents What We Can Handle?
I found out yesterday about a pair of four-year-old twins with Down syndrome who have cancer. Last February, Abigail Tillotson was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Eight months later, doctors discovered Natasha had the same kind of leukemia. ALL is a fast-growing cancer, and the most common type in kids ages 4 to 7. Most kids are cured after treatment, according to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
The family, who live in Utah, have seven kids. In the last year, the twins have been to the ER department more than 30 times. I’ve been reading the blog their mom, Kim, writes, and I am amazed by her spirit. As she writes of a recent rush visit to the hospital with Natasha, “You would never know she was sick. Her blood levels look great, but her output is lacking. Hoping we will be out by tonight or tomorrow. Fingers crossed….”
This mom is managing to juggle it all and finding joy in the small pleasures of motherhood. “I am so excited because I got to give all three of my little ones a bath today,” she wrote back in April. She’s kept her sense of humor; in another post, she describes getting caught in a hospital room while she was in the midst of changing clothes. “Tasha’s male nurse entered to see me in my bra with my hands halfway in my hoodie…. I am quite sure he is scarred for life.”
Her blog’s name: Happiness Is How You Respond To Plan B.
I know what it’s like to raise one child with special needs. Two children with special needs and five more kids? Really hard to imagine. Two children with special needs and cancer and five more kids and financial hardships from medical bills? Completely beyond the realm of my imagination.
After my son, Max, was born, people used to occasionally say that God only gives you what you can handle. It made me mad to hear that. Really, I was angry that my baby had a stroke, and upset by people trying to make like things would be OK. I didn’t think so: My husband and I been told the worst about Max, leaving us with very little hope. I wasn’t sure how we would deal. As the years passed, the grief receded and acceptance came, along with much joy.
So did G0d only give me what I can handle? I’m not sure. I do what I can for my son. Sometimes I seriously stress out but I think I’m a pretty good parent. When I hear about stories like this, though, and how this amazing mom is keeping it together, it really does make me wonder about divine intention.
The family has a fundraising site, Help Our Twins, to cover medical expenses.
Screen grab/Twins fighting cancer together video