Everything changed. Every. Single. Thing. All that had been, all that would be and everything in between. Our lives were changed irrevocably in an instant with one phone call. Five years ago today, our sweet little two-year old baby girl was diagnosed with cancer.
She was just a baby…only 2 years and 2 months old. She still had baby fuzz hair. She still used pacis. She was high-risk upon diagnosis but for some reason, that’s not what we heard. What we heard was “this is the most treatable type of pediatric cancer. If you have to have a child with cancer, THIS is the one you want.”
I don’t know why some things happen the way they do. I don’t know why our prayers worked during Kate’s initial diagnosis, allowing her to stay with us another 2 years and 5 months. I don’t know why, when she was diagnosed with a relapse, God’s answer to our prayers was never meant to be answered here on Earth. Only heaven would do that time.
Sometimes I try to remind myself that if she hadn’t left this Earth, she would be here, but her future would have been uncertain. Relapsed leukemia is scary. Harder. MUCH harder. She’d have spent the last few years isolated from everyone far away from home. She’d have faced a bone marrow transplant and the terrifying but very real statistics that come along with that. The chemo would have been stronger. There would have been more…more of everything. More pills, more hospitals, more tubies, more pokies, more fear, more nausea, more trouble eating, more weight loss, more terrifying infections, more ANC drops, more sleepless nights. And she would REMEMBER. She would KNOW this was a really big thing and she would be terrified.
I cannot believe we are here. Still. No one can. STILL. My little girl, who during her first fight with cancer, did so well I felt guilty. There were challenges, trust me. Her lasting effects were noticeable. But she did not spend months in the hospital. She never had a chemo delay. She didn’t spend the majority of her time locked down on low ANC fever watch. I had (probably) the healthiest cancer patient most have seen. But she died anyway. Not the first time. No….the first time, she was MEANT to beat it.
This day brings back an enormous amount of painful memories. We should be spending today remembering and recalling that day our lives were split in two; before and after cancer, but celebrating being on the other side. Instead, we are left with the memories of this day; the haunting eerie quiet of the hospital despite the chaos swirling around us. We are left with knowing that despite 760 days in treatment, 23 days in the hospital, 3 ER visits, 92 doses of Methotrexate, one five-day dose of high-dose Methotrexate, 490 doses of 6MP, 36 cycles, 414 doses of steroids over 207 days, 39 doses of Vincristine, 10 rounds of Doxorubicin, 30 doses of Oncaspar, 2 bone marrow biopsies, countless blood and platelet transfusions and 2 surgeries…
She died anyway.
And the selfish, sickening part is that I’d go back and do every single God-awful minute all over again day in and day out. Just to be next to her again.