I know I’m a day late posting this…
October 6, 2009, a little over a month after my 4-year-old daughter, Audrey, was diagnosed with T-cell ALL (acute lymphoblastic leukemia), her third bone marrow test results came in. The first bone marrow test told us which kind of leukemia she had, and she started chemotherapy the very next day; the second test showed that the percentage of cancerous blasts in her bone marrow had significantly decreased-evidence that the chemo was working; this third bone marrow test would determine Audrey’s risk category. If her doctor still found evidence of disease in her bone marrow, Audrey would be classified “high risk” (as in high risk of relapse).
After several agonizing hours of waiting and pacing and praying and waiting and pacing and praying and waiting and pacing and praying, our nurse practitioner called me, with good news. The bone marrow biopsy showed NO LEUKEMIA. I ran out of my bedroom and scooped Audrey into my arms, and cried and danced around and said “thank you, God!” about a million times.
Achieving remission on schedule didn’t change or lessen Audrey’s treatments, though. In the following months, when Audrey’s immune system was wiped out from weekly chemo, it seemed like every virus managed to find her. She spent over 30 days in the hospital (not all at once, though it did feel like we lived there at times). She beat H1N1 flu and recovered from fever after fever after fever. The final “hard” phase of chemotherapy ended with a seizure and an infection in her port.
But look at her now! Today, Audrey is tall, strong, energetic. Her cheeks are pink; her hair, which has been growing back since May, is soft and thick. She’s back in school, learning how to write, playing with other kids. Her chemo treatments are much easier.
I’m so proud of my little girl and so grateful for the excellent medical care she’s received at Children’s Mercy Hospital. I’m reminded of a song we used to sing at my Catholic grade school: “Joy is, joy is all around us. Joy is, joy is everywhere. Joy is, joy is all around us. Joy is, joy is everywhere.”
Happy Remission Day, Audrey Mae!
Related article, slideshow, and blog:
Reflections on My Child’s First Year of Cancer Treatment: Finding the Bright Side of Life
First Year of Leukemia Treatment: Audrey’s Journey (in Pictures)
Audrey’s CarePage blog