“Our Second Family”
By Brooke Wiles, Medical Dosimetrist – Mercy Health Muskegon Johnson Family Cancer Center
A diagnosis of cancer changes everything — especially when it concerns a child.
For the next five months, Zander lived on the oncology floor of a West Michigan children’s hospital. My husband and I were determined to have one of us at the hospital with Zander at all times…but we couldn’t imagine how we were going to continue to work, care for our precious 3-year-old daughter, and also be there for our son. James and I were overwhelmed.
We decided that my husband would leave his job immediately, and I would continue to work full-time for Mercy Health at the Johnson Family Cancer Center as a medical dosimetrist.
Enter my Mercy Health family. My colleagues immediately sprang into action to support our family in a variety of ways. Some colleagues donated money to help us with expenses. Others gave me their PTO days so that I could take a break from work, spend time with Zander, and also maintain some semblance of normalcy in our home life.
I can’t describe the level of ongoing emotional and practical support our family received from my coworkers. Their generous spirit helped me to get through the toughest time in my life.
In the months that followed Zander’s diagnosis, there were many doctors’ visits, blood transfusions, fevers and ER visits. Throughout it all, my work family listened to me, gently explained the procedures my son was undergoing, and helped me to deal with the profound emotions that accompany a diagnosis of childhood cancer.
My work family even made it possible for my husband and I to get away for one evening just to relax! I have never worked with people who have been so caring, selfless and compassionate. Our family is blessed to know that my Mercy Health colleagues have our backs.
Today Zander is about six months away from completing his chemo treatment. He is in remission, and is healthy enough to be in daycare, which has allowed James to return to work full time. We are deeply grateful for the excellent care we have received in West Michigan.
Please know that you are our second family who will always hold a special place in our hearts. Thank you, colleagues, for truly living the Mercy Health mission.