Monday, June 30, 2008

Our oldest daughter (just turned 2 end of May) just finished her first round (4 days) of chemotherapy after being diagnosed with Leukemia. The preliminary information bomb dropped two weeks ago today and she’s been in the hospital ever since. We got scared earlier that morning when, shortly after getting home from the doctor's office and getting a blood test (she'd been running a fever for a few days), her left leg gave out on her (probably due to bone pain from the leukemia) as she tried to stand up. Shortly after the doc called with the news she was very anemic, they were worried it could be Leukemia (my breath blew out of me hearing that word), and she should be admitted right away. It's been a roller coaster since.

Her prognosis is very good, 80% cure rate (and that’s 80% in her situation are still cured, no relapse, after 10 years). They have a specific protocol for children under 4 with Down Syndrome with this type of Leukemia (AML). I don’t know if I’d necessarily call it ironic, but the good thing is that kids with Down Syndrome do much better against this type of leukemia (the aforementioned 80%) than quote unquote typical kids (more in the neighborhood of 50%).

As ever, my little love, my sweet girl, is an amazingly positive force, even stuck in a hospital room. Smiles for all, blowing kisses to the nurses, the doctors, even often mere moments after they make her cry her lungs out (via eyedrops, ill-flavored medicine, diaper change, etc.) She’s an absolute trooper. She’s moving that leg around more and more, getting more & more chipper, despite the occasional nausea or other discomfort.

Despite her predicament, she’s seen no reason to stop her neverending love of life and appreciation and awe of those around her. The zest she carries for every moment is impossible to resist. We keep her spirits up and she keeps ours up, and you can be damned sure we’re going to fight this thing & beat it.

My mother flew in to help us out with things, most notably keeping an eye on our one year old for the mornings & early afternoons so I could get back to work and we could still have someone always at the hospital. Her moral support and presence during this has been invaluable and we're incredibly grateful both to her for coming and to the circumstances in this life that allowed for it.

The treatment is schedule to last 6-7 months, consisting of 6 rounds of chemotherapy with 3-4 week rest periods following. It’s a whole new ballgame we’re living in now, but we’re figuring it out, one day at a time.

If you’re the praying sort (or even if you’re not), please drop a request to your deity of choice for our little girl to make a full recovery.