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.