I have two amazing, handsome, sweet, funny boys, Andrew, 13 and Aaron, 8 years old. After years of thinking I would never know what ballet lessons were like, I also had Hannah. She is four years old. My three kids are all I could ask for and more.
In January, Hannah had pneumonia. She never seemed like herself after that. She had random fevers, she was tired often, and her coloring was off. I kept taking her to the doctor thinking she had a virus or something but it never got all the way better. The people at her preschool were also noticing these symptoms. The director of her preschool, Deb, had even called me, thinking maybe she had mono. The doctors thought maybe it was a sinus infection and put her on medicine.
On April 7th, 2010 she had a tummy ache at school, when I came to get her, she seemed ok. As I was reading her bedtime story that night I noticed her stomach looked VERY distended. I thought, in all my thirteen years of parenting, I had not seen that before. I called her doctor and the nurse asked me how quickly I could be at Children's. Rian stayed with the boys and I left the house still not convinced I wasn't over reacting to some possible gas.
I should have known something was not right at the ER, because everyone was being really, really nice to Hannah and I. After they drew some blood the doctor came in and told Hannah that a nurse would stay with her so that Mommy could get her some juice. I walked out of the room really thinking I was being led to where the juice boxes were! They took me into another room where the doctor turned to me and said, "We are going to do a test, the results will be back in an hour, but we think your daughter has Leukemia. We believe she has cancer." I was busy dismissing her in my head as the over reacting one while she listed the symptoms Hannah displayed that made her suspect it. Her stomach was distended and not because of gas. Her liver and spleen were enlarged. Her frequent fevers and fatigue. My brain kicked in at this point, so I protested, suggesting that mono, could also be the cause of enlarged organs, fatigue, and fever. She agreed but firmly stated she thought it was Leukemia. I went back to our room, no juice, refusing to except any of that. Every time I thought, what if they come in and tell me it's cancer, I immediatly put it out of my head. I was sure it was going to be mono.
After the longest hour ever went by, Hannah had fallen asleep on my lap and the doctor came back in. She said she was afraid she had bad news. They rest of that night has blurred into the rush of trying to process the wall of information they give you and surpress the "I'm going to go crazy right here" emotion that was filling my head. I was determined not to be the mom that fell apart. I just wanted to learn so I could help.
My best friend, Mackenzie, at nine months pregnant, thank you very much, came to the hospital at 3 am with only the words, Hannah has Leukemia. Together, we walked Hannah into her new world called, the 3rd Floor Cancer Unit at Children's Hospital. Walking in past that sign and knowing that was where they were taking my sweet baby girl was one of the single worst moments of my life. I almost lost it, except, Abby, our fellow(thats an important Dr. title) was standing there waiting for us. I had stubbornly, already promised myself I wasn't going to be breaking down in front of the people that I am now depending on to save Hannah's life.
The next few days were full of horrific tests and information. When they came back with the spinal tap results that showed the type of Leukemia she had, I did finally lose it. She has Leukemia ALL, which is the one with the highest cure rate. So, it was good news. I don't know why, but to me it meant that she really did have cancer. I went into the hall, sat on the floor, and cried my eyes out. I just couldn't stop. I had been feeling like if we just left, if I picked up Hannah and ran, then none of this would be real.
What I found out, was that we are going to be ok, that there are funny, dear moments even when going through crappy chemo, and that we have a whole LOT of wonderful people in our lives. I thank God everyday for all of you and every precious moment I have on this earth with my family.