Meet a Mom: Sarah Lindner, mom to AJ, a 6-year-old “Superhero” from Brentwood, NY
What would you do if you heard the diagnosis of brain cancer? Now stop….before you answer, think about what you would say, what you would do, if the diagnosis was not for you, BUT for your 6-year-old son? For one Brentwood mom, this nightmare scenario of “what if” has turned into her reality.
Five months ago, 25-year-old Sarah Lindner’s son AJ was a typical 6-year-old; an adventurous, carefree boy who loved to laugh, go to kindergarten, gymnastics and ice skating. But on March 30th, that all changed when AJ was diagnosed with Choroid Plexus Carcinoma, a rare form of brain cancer.
Now, instead of scheduling play dates, ice skating lessons and basketball games, this once full-time working mom, spends her days scheduling MRI’s, surgeries and chemo. AJ has already completed three rounds of chemo, has had two brain surgeries, and has undergone many other small procedures along the way as well.
Through it all, Sarah says she’s not angry and has never once asked “why him?”; and when asked about her biggest fears for AJ, she says: “My biggest fear is not what you might think. Tears roll down my face and I type this, but I do not fear death for him. Instead I fear that cancer will finally leave his little body, but take away his soul. I fear that my little adventurous, outspoken jumping little boy will no longer be there. I fear that I will fail him as a mom by making the wrong decision. I fear that he will have a hard time overcoming his disabilities caused by the brain tumor, chemo and the radiation he might have to endure. My biggest fear for him is that he will never truly understand how amazing he is and how he truly is my superhero!”
She also says that: “I am still that mom that sets boundaries, rules and limits. I still make him have “time outs”, which now consists of him sitting on his hospital bed quietly. I still have to fight with him to take a bath, although that is now a sponge bath at bedside.”
When asked what she wanted people to know about her life, her family and her future, she said: “I want to tell people that I am doing ok, I really am. I am not a supermom, I am just a mom. A mom that has learned to manage the unthinkable. I try my best to keep it together. I fight because my child needs me to fight. I keep going because if I don’t, who will?
As a mom you always put your own needs and wants aside because you value the life of your child much more than your own. I know that the most precious thing in my life may not be around forever, so I appreciate every moment with him.
Our future is always on my mind. My child’s cancer has given me a higher calling, a purpose in life that is beyond any desire I ever had. I know exactly what I am fighting for. I made a promise to myself that I will turn this “nightmare” into a positive experience. I plan to start a foundation in the near future that will help others who are in a similar situation. I am so honored and amazed by how many people are touched and inspired by my son’s strength and story!
I also plan on writing a book, about our journey. My plan is for it to consist of short stories that will allow the reader to “walk in our shoes”, of course it will be full of our sarcastic personalities and all the crazy situations that only happen to us. I hope in return it will help others understand what cancer has done to its victims and families. I hope it brings awareness to pediatric cancer, in ways that commercials of smiley bald faces do not show. I hope it will help another mom smile or cry and know that it is ok to be happy or be sad and confused.
No one really knows what the future hold for us. What I do know is that my child’s fight for life will not just be apart of our past, but will always be apart of our future.
I do know that in the end everything will be “alright”, regardless of what that “alright” becomes.”
If you are interested in supporting this little “Superhero” in his fight, please make a donation in AJ’s honor to the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island, where Sarah has spent many nights during AJ’s on-going treatment.