Checking in with Adella…

It was a birthday.  Not a “mile stone” birthday like 13 or 16, but just a birthday.  I’m the kind of Mom that believes her kids can miss school on their birthday.  Birthdays are to be filled with your favorite meal, your favorite dessert, and a day filled with whatever you choose to do, be it shopping and out to lunch; which was the plan for January 13, 2010.  Unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned.

“Take her to Strong Hospital Pediatric Emergency.  They are waiting for you there.  We think she has leukemia.” The voice on the phone stated.

“But…I don’t even know how to get to the hospital…”. I pleaded back.

In that instant, all the little worries in life seemed to fade away in a haze of gray, as I loaded up my now 14 year old daughter, Kaytee, into the car for a destination that would change our entire family’s life forevermore.

Cancer…we have all heard the word before, some of us may have known people who have had cancer even, but when it becomes a reality for a child, your child, the entire word changes importance and meaning for your family. A family, who’s biggest challenge before was getting your child to eat veggies, now faces hospital stays, loss of work, and even worse!

I remember setting in a small non-descript room, while my daughter’s life hung in the hands of strangers.  It seemed that all of the control you once had as a mother to care for your child is taken away in an instant.  You are left in a complete daze.  Left to plead and pray that this all to be a mistake, a bad dream, anything other than what this woman in a white coat was telling me was my new reality.

The world shakes and shifts like a never ending rollercoaster, and all you can feel is nauseated and afraid.  Then you think of your other children.  How can you be there for them?  How can you get them to school and see their volleyball game and talk about their new girlfriend and…and…?  Then you feel like you are having a breakdown, but how can you have a breakdown when everyone is counting on you to keep it together?

I’m here to tell you that life goes on.  The minutes tick away.  Days become weeks and weeks become months and before you know it, you are finding a new normal.  The staff, who were once strangers, become like family.  In what seems like a blink of the eye, the treatment protocol is completed and you are going home.  Home, the placed you longed for and set a goal to get to.  Home, where things aren’t exactly they way they were, but it’s ok because it’s home.  Everything will be ok, at home.  For most of us that is true, but for some, reoccurances happen, or worse.  

What I’m trying to say is that we now belong to a group that no one would wish entry on their worse enemy.  A group that is based upon Pediatric Childhood Cancer.  None the less, know that you are not alone.  We all have our own stories of pain and perseverance.  The path you walk, you walk with many others.  If you get lost, we will help you find your way.