The fighter: Young mom battles cancer
Inspiring story of woman living with Ewing’s sarcoma
Joshlynn Wilson fights her disease for one simple, but most incredible, reason – Zoey, her 2-year-old daughter.
In August of 2013, Joshlynn was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, an aggressive bone cancer, occurring mainly in childhood and adolescence. Suddenly the 19-year-old single mom faced a whole new set of challenges.
“I was afraid my life was over,” she said. “I was afraid of what would happen to my daughter if I wasn't there. My little girl is my life. I thought, ‘Why me?’ Everything you could possibly think of went through my head. I had no idea how bad or what it was until we did tests and scans. I learned no matter what to be positive and you will make it.”
Joshlynn knew she wouldn’t go through her journey alone. In her home of Mineral Wells, Texas, she has her parents and four siblings. Although, they’ve been there for her, Joshlynn said her diagnosis placed a strain on everyone.
“At first it was really hard for everyone to accept that I had cancer,” she said “Everyone was afraid to talk about it or even ask questions because they didn't know how I would feel about it. But for me, talking about it helps me. And now my family, my closest friends and I are closer than ever and they really support me.”
While family and friends supported her, only those with similar experiences could truly understand Joshlynn. She struggled with the news of the cancer and mainly the impact it would have on her little girl.
“Being away from my daughter so much for treatment has been the toughest part,” she said. “Zoey is still young so she doesn’t quite understand why I'm gone all the time and it really hurts me. It’s hard when I’m home too because I’m sick and not able to do things by myself like I use to.”
Joshlynn found not only treatment for her cancer, but support from peers at Cook Children’s. She describes her physician, Karen Albritton, M.D., as “absolutely amazing.” Dr. Albritton is the medical director of the Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Program in the Hematology and Oncology Center at Cook Children’s.
“Dr. Albritton truly cares and understands all her patients,” Joshlynn said. “Cook Children’s is an amazing place. They gave me strength and courage to beat this. Everyone in the AYA program has helped me out so much. They have changed my life. It's really amazing to have people that know what you’re going through and understand you, when sometimes your family can't.”
For now, there’s one family member that doesn’t understand everything that Joshlynn’s going through and that’s just fine with her. Zoey will someday understand how her mommy battled cancer.
“It's really hard at times. Having cancer and doing treatments and being gone so much never gets easier,” Joshlynn said. “My daughter makes me want to fight and beat this even more. You have to keep a positive attitude, and know that no matter what, just believe in yourself.”
After all, that’s the attitude that makes fighters great.