Aug 28, 2013|
Monica’s son, Jose, was treated at the Jimmy Fund Clinic for acute myelogenous leukemia and passed away in December. Caitlin became Jose’s nurse after his second bone marrow transplant. They became close through a shared sense of humor. She joins Monica to reflect on their and Jose’s experiences.
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Joining us here live at Fenway Park are a couple of veterans of love the Jimmy Fund. Telethon -- radio on on my right Monica and -- and on my left -- Caitlin Stratton. Nice to see you again. Against you were here last year for and you were -- the year before yes and then you -- -- before that. Now the sad part is that your son Jose. Is no longer with us he was here last year as well you in the past December of this past year -- I'm sorry for your loss and so I'm I'm sure you are I like I can imagine. Not anything more difficult and we talked appearance here in the end and they have to look at their right their kids are still alive to me. I think I -- and how to ask this question how do you deal. With what did you had to deal with the treatment and the and the fear and and then have those. Fears realized when your son passes in December of mom get through that. The groove knowing that everything always works out for the best which is what I know he said to you guys last year my mom says it's going to be okay. And I couldn't believe everything that happens. It turns out to be for the best for everybody. So. Even as people leave specifically. They always leave something for us -- trying to. To do work for that award so it's all good and what did Jose leave behind for you apologies com. What did you know I -- I now belong to it being at -- fact which is their parents family advisory council and the Dana Farber. So I worked alongside dollar parents and their caregivers what does that entail. We try to improve the experience. That. To -- at the parents and the patients have them through treatment and beyond. To make it you know I -- because we know -- idiots to make it better for them right. So getting to the other and working so that. You know is just -- treatment experienced summit. Did you ever feel like just only covers -- and Salem. I'm never getting out of bed after this did you ever feel like going to a different direction you're doing a lot of good things and you have a great attitude. Now. You know I have another son. Right so. Now there's not time for them and licensed insured. And on that wouldn't have wanted it that way -- few. He wouldn't let you know of a sudden I was not up for you into Kenya who wouldn't want -- holiday week when he hit a nickname is on the Anglo Anglo like Anglo Saxon. Saw a decent and not given you were his -- general you don't work with young people but you sort of. Struck upload a friendship kinship with the way I've always worked in pediatric yet but I. Typically don't take care of teenagers and usually -- you know school age and toddlers that's kind of my passion but why Jose. Hi I have no life and I have no idea we we met. One day when I floated to the oncology unit from stem cell and it's for some reason. I don't know we just clicked and I knew he was coming to transplant and I knew that day that I had to take care of him. I didn't know that I would be with him for. Three and half years but. I mean best. Asked for a half years I wouldn't trade it for the world. So you were his search for the bone marrow transplant I was one or two -- us. What he had to but just the one here I say so. With him for the transplant with him after the transplant and then I also worked at the Jimmy Fund clinic -- I was taking care of him. On that side as well top job. Expanding yeah it can be duke duke days outweigh the bad absolutely. How to do the bad days like this. Don't know I'm an Anthony that's in December you know -- I'm celebrating him today come. You you deal that the best you can you know you. You definitely have days where you crichton you definitely have days where your sad. I definitely have those days with -- you know after the day that he passed. Very hard day for me but. I know that I did everything I could do right. To make him better and I thought that he walked away from everything knowing that he had done everything he could do what it Jose leave behind for you -- Passion. To continue doing when I'm doing. Their inner strength yeah let's talk. What's it like what was he like angle and we've met him briefly but you knew -- certainly better than we did what it's what was Anglo like her well he has. It was something where it. They want an addictive we have we can say hey that's kind of thing could really he would. There let's -- this is why. It lasts because. It was something even the hardest days were not the hardest days because we. We found something to laugh about we found a way to make a joke out of everything a lot of times he would start. You know I mean we would be having a hard day I would be having a hard day and he would just make a one -- and we would just. Like how can do that you're having the worst day you feel awful he would just. So he didn't have a why -- -- he never never never and you didn't either. -- -- You come here and now -- mean everything has brought us to a better place. Because yeah above lost your boy you lost your son. And he gave me in her life. Yes I thought I brought him here for treatment. I didn't know he had brought me here for no better life. How can not be appreciative of that car. It's a good thing -- in this family advice counsel you and I'll meet you seem perfectly. -- -- that's -- job board for that. There yes. There there is bad. I think they you know you have to do if one concern if anyone has any talent is -- one can answer with one should use it. What would be your main piece of advice when you talk to parents whose kids are struggling and they're going through treatment what it would it would get tellem to try to. Help them through their journey. I have sort of a mantra. And it's I am realistic but optimistic. -- So take it -- reality of what we have now. That it has to be for the absolute best so just turning to the best situation you can -- -- phthalates. But there is. You have your own -- -- areas yes back after the beginning of this journey here you're you're trying to family. I lives. And you know Monica and it's violence Jose and I had this connection and you know. Sharing parts of my life that I normally. Wouldn't share. And having a child was very important my husband and I but we have really difficult time getting pregnant and when we finally did you know celebrated with Monica and who is Amy where. Very happy about it and he said it was a boy before we even knew it was a boy he told you at a time he knew about him. And he was. And we didn't tell anyone to name -- just felt like we wanted to save that as a surprise for when he was born and Sweeney into Darius and why Darius. Just a name that my husband and I really liked. Not a very popular name we wanted to him to have a strong mean something that meant something and it was his best friends and I -- not knowing. When I told Monica what we named him that was its best friends named Darius so it's Jose's favorite name brought absolutely a box. And you know this -- now while his match race coming up so and he's so you dares. -- -- subject -- -- eighteen months he's wild a profession that violence. Do you not hurt if you look at her differently now in terms of how she is handled her lost now that you are prepared yourself. I mean I've never really thought about them but. That she definitely is one of the strongest women that I now. I don't know some days -- being a parent now how she did what she did and I think going through that with Jose and Monica. When I knew it wasn't a mother and then it's very different than looking back on -- now turn back the strength of that woman has this. Is amazing is. Pretty amazing when there was talking about where you meet her she's amazing. We sure you know fake and she. My and it did it would take -- yeah. Entitlement. Now now that she would recount what is. The message you generally delivered to the parents who are maybe not is. Upbeat and don't have it is effectively do. Well when they look at me and they think I'm taking it because it can't theory. That. It's always it's going to be OK it's going to be okay in mind that be what you want. But it will be OK. So. If they could keep that in mind. It's gonna make their journey so much easier but at worst nightmare of every parent. Absolutely but. Blessings come disguised in those farms if we can see through this tragedy into the last thing that's a change. And that's way kill people is going to be fine. So -- video camera and if I lived it and must be real you know through. Just on coffee for. Now Caitlin you said that. Jose changed you as a clinician. You quoted as saying -- and putted that -- the change you and and powdered changing to what. Are you different. So. We came into this thing that we were -- town. This one's story and I think that day for me was probably. The day that I felt I was changed. It was the date that. He found out who his Stoner is on related tone and we were laughing about the fact that he was talking like I -- Iowa it. How -- my Iowa there that you know and how funny is that at a white guy from Iowa is perfect -- it's a perfect match this on the revelations like -- and I -- -- can't go out there for -- to show. IA sat with. I sat with -- is it that day and said. No matter you need to right in Latin. Because his first donor what's his brother so obviously he can thank you -- when that you just need to write him a letter. And just if that's the only contact you -- say thank you thing is that I'm not -- I don't idea. I would not do that and say but why would you not write that letter used you know he saved -- and he. -- -- -- -- you're here he saved your life. I'm not rating that can. And I just kept pushing and pushing and pushing him into -- -- where to be done under each -- and and I was very passionate about him bragging that slider and he finally looked at me and said. I'm not writing athletic. Because he didn't think my life. You statement. And in house. I could do another thing for him not a bad thing he'd think well how how we got people that you can. -- passionate. It's. Knowing that I had an impact on him. So routier's that was of Thursday. The best yeah -- him. The threats that we can tell you know is what makes it really hit -- really -- In southern anniversaries -- entity created. A teenager yeah maybe just didn't feel like written letter. I'm just ahead. There was not talent. Him what you -- really know did it through his -- -- the last he. He marked the or her right now including me has is -- to -- over to the note was yes now if you decide how. How how to both through it this is coming today and this is exactly how Iowa and haven't -- Well he told these clinician that their monarchy says if you see that I cannot get treatment you coming to evade it. And you cannot do anything for me anymore. Quote unplug me. And I wasn't. Well as 198. To deny 1818. Has Jose's brother adopted in and done as well as mom hands with the passing of his brother. I would have to say. No. He has had -- difficult time. He's now resurfacing. Even -- mean and it's been a short time but right December right. But he will. He didn't go to school semester. He will be back in school who goes to Berkeley college of music. Man he should -- -- in Maine and he is now. Understanding. Why. And what four. So it has been very difficult for him so it signals a longer elect -- he's getting up off his knees and getting back in the game. There's not a choice yeah you're not chase you patrol told enough for a while he wasn't buying it. But now -- but the only thing he's seen in means yes yeah so I that you do it and do it. -- -- man it's just the way it is that's life just leave it I mean leave. If anything. Thank you for sharing your story my -- Monica and -- Caitlin Stratton and there have been times thank you very -- 8777381234. You see that's why we're doing this book that's what we're doing a. I'm gonna go to that one -- on the go home -- effective. You and your attitude and you're in your outlook due to I mean you guys have you know real impact on people. Here. Yeah if that doesn't make you pick up the phone and there's nothing we can do 8777381234. Online if you like Jimmy Fund dot org. Or you can text -- cancer to 20222. To donate ten dollars into it but I'm fifty friends and AT&T will match up to fifty. Thousand dollars over cocktails with these two. 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