A Parent’s Worst Nightmare

january 26, 2020

Susan Thibaudeau et Yvon Courchesne

Horrible News

When Your World Falls Apart

When you’re told your daughter has cancer, life comes to a standstill. Your reality shifts and you enter a world filled with uncertainty and constant worry. In a single moment, the “now” becomes unbearably heavy, tinted with colours we’d rather never have known. In a single moment, you are swept away by a tsunami of emotions, its power engulfing everything. In a single moment, your life changes completely, and you become a warrior, fighting against the most menacing of enemies.

A family left devastated

Overwhelmed and Helpless

2003 is a year branded with pain. Our 22-year-old daughter learned she had lymph node cancer. She was just starting in life, beginning her dream career as a special education teacher. She had everything going for her, entering adult life with eagerness and hope. Her hopes were crushed with this nightmare of a diagnosis, and we felt the blow equally. Sitting in the doctor’s office, unable to speak, we received the news in complete shock. Sharp waves of pain invaded our hearts and made us feel utterly helpless.

The doctor explained this form of cancer was usually treatable, trying to reassure us. It was the only hope we could grab onto.

Treatment filled with pain

An endless battle

We then started a long series of tests and treatments to fight the monster. It took many trials and errors to get to an appropriate dosage of medication.

Right after the first round of chemo, we saw promising signs that we might have the upper hand in this fight. It filled us with hope, but less than a year later, we were back to square one. The following months and years brought us a series of battles: an autograft, an allograft, and neverending painful tests. Additionally, to counter the many side effects brought on by these treatments, our daughter had to take an eye-popping quantity of pills daily, leaving her in a haze.

The Light at the End of the Tunnel


Our daughter’s fight lasted 16 years. After many grueling years, we heard the words we were all hoping for: SUCCESSFUL RECOVERY.

She survived thanks to her exceptional team of doctors and nurses. She also survived because of the stem cell transplant she received. Without it, she would not have made it.

There are no words to express our gratitude for Sabine, the selfless donor who gave our daughter the most precious gift of all: Life.

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