Thursday, April 16, 2009

Two years ago today...

Two years ago today, our lives changed completely... horrifically... drastically. We received the phone call that no parent ever wants to get... the call saying that our baby girl had cancer. It threw us into a state of chaos and panic. Life as we knew it had just ended and a new world of bone marrow biopsies and spinal taps, chemo and extremely long hospital stays became our new normal.


We learned about things like neutrophils and how low they'd let your child's platelets get before they'd transfuse. We walked lap after lap after lap around the hospital hallways. Sometimes we were smiling, sometimes we were crying, and sometimes we just stared off into space from sheer exhaustion. We searched for cute hats, cool toys and games we could play with our child, other children, other parents, the nurses... anything to pass the long hours as we watched poison being pumped into her tiny little body.


We prayed. We prayed for her. For us. For our strength; our hope; our faith. For her siblings. They were so strong, so brave. Worried about their sister, missing their parents, even though we knew they were being loved and cared for beyond measure. We prayed for the other families going through the same thing. Our new friends on this same terrible journey. We always knew when a newly diagnosed child arrived on the floor. We could tell by the shell-shocked look on the parent's faces. They would wander in and look around, surely thinking this was all some terrible nightmare. No way could this be their reality. We could tell by the child's full head of hair. The terrified look in their eyes. After they got settled, we would coax them out, we would talk and we would smile and we would encourage them the best we could... we'd surround them with support and friendship... and family. The cancer family. Talk about being the black sheep.


Two years ago we learned what it meant when a doctor told another family to go home. There was nothing more to be done. Their son was 2. A funeral. And another. And another. And too many more to count. Too many tears. Too many tiny little lives gone. Families who will grieve forever. And those of us left? We hug our children tighter. We thank God they're still here and at the same time we feel guilty. Why are our kids here? Why are theirs not? How can two children have the same cancer, be on the same chemo, have the same chances of survival, but 2 years later one of those children is gone? We don't understand. We may never understand.


Two years. And for so, so many the fight goes on. I am thankful Kennedy's fight is over. I am thankful she is here. I am thankful we only go into "that" clinic 6 times a year. I am thankful for the many, many, many lifelong friends we have made in the last two years. But cancer sucks. I hate it. I hate everything about it. I hate that it makes me worry every time any of my children get sick. I hate that I think about platelets when they fall and scrape their knees. I hate that when my son gets a stomachache I am sure it's a tumor. I hate that it has made me cherish my kids more. I hate that it has made me a better mother. I hate that it made me realize what is important in life. I hate that it brought me closer in my relationship with God. I hate that cancer consumes so much of this blog. I hate the fact that I know that 46 new children are diagnosed with cancer every day. Because that means I have to give credit to cancer... whether it be good or bad; and I hate it.


Two years. You've come a long way, baby.

40 comments :

SunflowerMom said...

I am so sorry Kennedy went down that road. I remember when she was dx and my heart just sank. No, not OUR Kennedy! I thank God that she beat it and that you lead so many of us through her journey. She has taught the world so much in such a short time.

Ann said...

So powerful! I'm so glad you've shared your story so the rest of us can get to know your fantastic kids. Praise God her fight is over.

Holly Aytes said...

I'm glad you posted that as I didn't know that it had been 2 yrs...that is was I get for not stumbling across your blog sooner :) That 2st picture of her is precious....they all are but I love the way she is looking over her shoulder and she looks so tiny there (not that she is very big now)! I hope y'all never have to travel that road again and I am praying for the other families that are traveling that road!

manuelsmommy said...

What a powerful post! I can't even imagine, I truly can't, but you and your family, and Kennedy are SOOO strong! She HAS come a long way, yes she has!!!!

Love and prayers to you all! :)

Courtney said...

I LOVE HER I LOVE HER!!!!!!

Kim said...

What a trooper Kennedy is to go through all that and your family too! And the scary thing is that it can happen to anybody. After finding out that Mattie had Ds, we learned quickly that "those things happen to other people" can be anybody. Kennedy is such a doll! I pray that she continues to grow strong and healthy!

Rachel said...

Oh Renee...what a post! All I can do is PTL that that Kennedy (who shares the same name as my niece) is home safe in your arms and free of Cancer.

I think about all these kids on a daily basis and thank the good Lord above for my 4 healthy children.

You parents that have to go thru this are just amazing to me.

Thanks for sharing this post. It is certainly another reality check for me and I will be going home and hugging my kids more than ever tonight.

MamasHood said...

Cancer sucks. Kennedy rocks. Thanks for sharing such an honest and raw take on this whole terrible subject.

Anonymous said...

Another post in which you tell Kennedy and your families story with such feeling. Thank you for giving a positive face to an otherwise scary and negative topic.
If you get a chance can you drop by this caringpage and chech out this awesome family's story? thanks!
http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/aliviavanderklei

Leslie said...

kennedy is truly i angel!!!

You've come a long way baby!

hugs,leslie

Lyndi said...

Renee, that post was beautifully written, as always! Thank you for sharing so much of yourself on here. Kennedy is a fighter, she has accomplished so much in her short little life, I can't wait to see what is in store for her future...that girl is going to make a difference in this world, she already has in ours!

Cancer Sucks!!

Courtney said...

How beautiful and heartbreaking and inspiring.

Happy wishes to celebrate Kennedy's health, strength, and happiness!!

Kacey Bode said...

Beautifully written. Cancer does suck. I can't even imagine what it was like for you guys. I am so glad that you can write that after 2 years Kennedy is healthy and happy and cancer free!!!

sandsmom said...

We are so blessed to know Kennedy and to have been on this journey with her...rooting for her....like so many others the msg we got sent us in a spinner....broke our hearts....but God has a plan for that little girl and I am truly thankful to be apart of her world.
God Bless You Kennedy ...we love you ....we love your family.....We are so thankful you are happy healthy and as beautiful as ever!

christy said...

That was a beautiful post, Renee! I am so thankful for Kennedy's win over cancer and for your fight for childhood cancer awareness! Your family rocks! :)

Shannon @ Gabi's World said...

Thank you for this post! It makes me realize the many many blessings in life! Thank God you are able to look back at this 2 years later as a bad bad memory! Thank God she is still here today! So sorry for those families that aren't able to do the same.

My children have never had cancer, but yet I think those same things. Of course, it's probably because I am a nurse. Jeremy found a lump on his neck about a year and a half ago at night and I cried all night waiting to take him to the doctor. It turns out it was an enlarged lymph node and it is fairly common. But in my world, lumps are not common. They usually mean the worst!

Jill said...

Renee,
OH SO happy that Kennedy is HERE and you are able to celebrate this anniversary!
The photos are precious...and then I had to laugh as I read and scrolled down and there was yesterday's spaghetti face...such joy!

Blessings,
Jill

Hayley said...

Kennedy,
You are amazing! So are your Mom, Dad, Brothers and sisters!
xxx

Ishquez said...

hi renee,

what an amazing post and thank you for shining some light on your journey! i'm glad kennedy is doing amazing.

i know your not from boston but this sunday and monday there will be an emergency bone marrow drive to save a 2 year old named eve.

it would be awesome if you could dedicate a blog post to little eve and hopefully we can find a donor. the more exposure the better. lets give eve a chance.

for more information:

http://www.giftoflife.org/Public/News.aspx?news_id=91
http://www.giftoflife.org

thanks,
ishmael

Kristy Acuna said...

Renee....I believe you can be told so many many times you are blessed...or so many many times what a strong woman you are...do you know what I see...I see our God more and more and more evident through your words...through your trials....through your TREMENDOUS sacrifices....you...your husband...your children...how God has placed such a family together...YOUR FAMILY is a family of FAITH...always holding on to his word...always holding on to eachother...an inspiration to what true Christianity is......your Mom...your Dad...you..your husband..your children...you are all angels earthbound angels sent here to teach...just like Kennedy....God bless you!!!

amanda said...

what a beautiful post. i love your honesty and emotions. it comes across so real and never fake. :0) praise god for his grace and mercy.

Elbog said...

You have no idea what you and your little girl do for me on almost a daily basis. And yes, I wish you didn't, either, but I remain ultimately grateful.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful piece you wrote. You and little Kennedy are such inspirations to the rest of us!

And wow, what a long way you've travelled!


Lea White
http://whitesinnz.blogspot.com

Chrystal said...

One thing that has remained the same throughout is her beautiful little face.

Please give Kennedy and extra hug from me today.

Anonymous said...

Bless her heart!

Joany

narretto said...

There are no words to express the way I feel after I have read this. God bless you all and thank God K is healthy and well

Patty said...

This post just made me cry! I just got my pages for the luminaras for our walk next month, have to go make copies so I can get Kennedy's done. :)

Cammie Heflin said...

Wow, I had never seen pix of Kennedy when she was going through treatments, she is so beautiful, and strong and amazing, she is so lucky to have you as her mama!

Marsha :o) said...

It is amazing how much can change in two years! As you said, the deaths and the lifes! Some many times, I think of families with many children and I think to myself, "what are the chances of all of them surviving to adulthood without facing cancer?" I know that it is morbid and I would NEVER say it to those families, but I will admit that I think it. CANCER is UGLY and a CURE NEEDS to be FOUND!!!!!

Kennedy has grown so much in the last 2 years...physically, mentally, and spiritualy! Love you Kennedy!

Anonymous said...

Renee
You are such an inspiration!
The road you have had to walk is one no one should have to do. However you have done it with such style. You have deepened your faith in God, you have come out the other side of the Cancer Sucks ride and have the most amazing lil girl to show for it.

The day will always stick that the most horrific phone call was made to you, however you and Kennedy now get to celebrate each day that is Sucky Cancer free!

Like you I HATE CANCER, to say it just blows is the easiest way to put it.

Congrats Renee and family on an amazing outcome for Kennedy.

Kennedy you are such an angel..

grecia said...

Two years ago is when I first came to "know" you. Can't even remember now how I got here, but I know that I have prayed, cried and laughed along with you and the Special K's since that time. And I'm thrilled to be posting this two years later, and ALL is well (except for the stinkin' virus bug)!
I praise God for this day and praying for many, many more anniversary dates and posts.

Adrienne said...

Wow, what a beautiful and moving post! What a strong little girl you have there! Cancer does sick but I'm so glad she beat it and I hope you and your family never have to go through that again!

RK said...

God is good. Cancer does suck. Kennedy is one tough cookie. And her mom is pretty impressive too.

little.birdy said...

God, Renee, she's beautiful.
Last week cancer took a little girl I know who wasn't even two. She had the extra chromosome as well. I hate, hate, hate it.

JRS said...

I hate it too. Kennedy is amazing and so are you.
---Jen

Dolphinmomcca said...

I sit here with tears flowing down my face, what a wonderful and powerful post, thanks for sharing your journey with us, I love coming here to read.

Jen T. said...

I started reading your CP right after Kennedy was dx...not even sure how I found out about it...and like you, have cried many times and asked why about people and diseases that I never would've known about had it not been for your blog/CP.

On this anniversary of Kennedy's dx, I want to say THANK YOU for sharing your knowledge, your family, and your heart with us all. I am a better person for having met you and your amazing family.

xoxo

Kristen said...

A day we cancer moms never forget...

We were in Orlando for Ethan's MAW trip when we got the call from Di that Kennedy had AML. I remember wanting to be there for you so badly. It was a Tuesday if I remember right. She has definitely come SO far!!!

My Three Sons said...

What a blessing. I'm so glad the scary part is behind you. Kenn is such a gorgeous little girl.

Michelle said...

Wow I can't believe it's been 2 yrs; what an emotional "anniversary" this must be. I'm sorry Kennedy and your whole family had to go through this. She looked so little in those earlier pictures! How far she's come!