I can remember the day like it was yesterday. As I looked back through my posts over the past 4 years I was somewhat amazed at how quickly things change. One year I was grateful that Kristen was still with us, the next wishing with all my heart I would put my arms around her and hear her voice.
2 days ago we hit that 1 year anniversary of diagnosis. I thought often throughout the day of the events that took place 1 year earlier and I have to admit I felt a little queasy a time or two. I got up early and got Ryan off to school and then went back to lay in bed with Kristen. She was sleeping so peaceful next to me. Looking at her sweet face I could only feel gratitude that she was indeed still with us. Gratitude for her sweet spirit and the joy and peace and comfort she has brought into my life.
That night a year ago when we got the call from the doctor that Kristen did indeed have leukemia, I remember breaking out in tears. Sitting at the desk in the office with Richard looking on, the phone and my head dropping to the desk. It was 5pm and Kristen had already gone upstairs to get ready for bed. We had moved her bed in our room as she was not feeling well for some time and was afraid to sleep alone in her room. It was easier to move her bed in my room rather than find her lying on the floor next to my bed. She already had her nightgown on and was sitting on her bed enjoying Disney channel, I went upstairs and threw myself on my bed and was crying. I soon felt someone rubbing my back and comforting me. I thought it must he Rich or one of the other kids. As I looked up it was Kristen. That’s right I am supposed to be the mother, the one who comforts and I couldn’t even face Kristen and tell her of the awful plight that was now before us. Yet somehow this beautiful child was only concerned about me and trying to make me fell better. I did finally tell her. I told her that she was very sick and we needed to go to the hospital. She already knew in her sweet heart as she did the sign for a central line and said, “I don’t want that” I am sure that she knew before I knew that her leukemia had returned after 12 years. Kristen’s hematocrit was only 13 and her platelets were 12,000. so the doctor told us that we needed to get to the hospital that night.
After a few phone calls and 2 suit cases packed, one for me and one for Kristen, we were on our way for something we all feared. I really don’t know how Rich got us to the hospital as his eyes were also full of tears. I called later to check on the other kids and they had all gathered at my home along with some of their friends and Kristen’s BFF, Audrey (also her cousin) and they all just sat in the living room and shared stories and comforted each other. The next few weeks were some of the worst times I had ever experienced in my life. Initially Kristen had many set backs, we spent almost a week in ICU not knowing if we were going to lose her. After many prayers Kristen finally took a turn for the better. One day shortly after we came out of ICU she was sitting on her bed and she looked at me and said, “I don’t want to! I don’t want to!” I asked what she was talking about, I asked her what she didn’t want and she replied, “I don’t want to die!”
And from that moment, our little Princess put up a fight, and fight she did. She did many hard things, things I don’t know if I could do. She fought with grace and dignity and after 7 months of intense chemo she is home and doing well. She is truly my inspiration!
Two years ago today at 5pm we heard the words "Acute Myeloid Leukemia."
She was the light in the darkness then
and today she still shines and warms our hearts.
Walk in her room,look at her things,touch her beads,hug her pillow, and ring her bell.
Tears will come,
but underneath the tears the love and memories are also there
and you can't help but smile and feel so very blessed for having this
sweet girl in your life.
But oh how we miss our angel girl.
Cancer is now one of the driving forces in my life. I find it all to often occupying my mind.
I can say that this journey has been the hardest journey I have taken thus far.
However, I am also so very thankful that I can also say that underneath
the pain and the suffering this journey has also been filled with rich blessings in
compassion, kindness of strangers, devotion of family,
resilience of the human spirit and the gift of hope.