This summer you can find the Lampe kids from Germantown, Ill., swimming at local pools and water parks.
“They don’t need big trips to a lot of places,” Lisa Lampe, mother of 10-year-old Jack and 6-year-old Jordyn, said. “If we go bowling one day, they’ll say this was the best day ever.”
Lisa said she and her kids have a special appreciation for the fun road-trip days that come between chemotherapy treatments and lab results.
Lisa was diagnosed with stage IV ovarian cancer in 2009. She said her cancer won’t completely go away, so she regularly receives chemotherapy treatments to prevent the disease from spreading.
There’s a three-week cycle, Lisa said. After about 70 chemotherapy infusions in the last four years, she’s learned patience is needed for the difficult first seven days after a lab visit. Lisa journals on CaringBridge, keeps a spreadsheet of her test results, and offers tips – like how to make food taste good and avoid nausea – to new chemo patients.
“I think that’s my purpose for this whole journey,” Lisa said. “It’s basically become my full-time job to be a cancer fighter.”
Jack and Jordyn also had to adjust to cancer, their mother said. They go to the lab with Lisa and understand the medical terms they hear when Lisa’s health is discussed.
“It has definitely changed our world, but a lot of times I think it’s for the better,” Lisa said. “It has given them perspective and has made them much more compassionate and understanding.”
Neighbors recommended the Lampes for an Inheritance of Hope Legacy Retreat®. In January of 2011 Lisa, Jack, Jordyn, and Lisa’s mother Gayle got to fly to Disney World for one of those rare, big road trips.
“I’m a single mother and I knew I couldn’t ever take my kids there,” Lisa said. “When we got there it was so comforting to know they were there to serve us and provide us with memories.”
Lisa said she bonded with other families who understood living with cancer and young children, and Jack realized he’s not the only kid with a sick mom. Lisa learned to preserve her legacy by recording herself reading stories and making pottery with Jack and Jordyn. Two years after their trip with Inheritance of Hope, the Lampes still listen to the music they heard at the Legacy Retreat®, look at photo albums from the weekend, and and keep in touch with their IoH friends on Facebook.
“It’s nice to keep up with people to know they’re still fighting,” Lisa said.
She said this summer is about taking life one day at a time and making the most of opportunities to be with Jack and Jordyn. The first week after chemo might be the most difficult, but the other two weeks are for water parks.
“I always tell them if you can hang in there with me through my couple bad days after chemo, then we’ll have some good days,” Lisa said. “We’ve always said all days are good, just some are better than others.”