It has been weeks since I have updated everyone. The time seemed to go by so quickly. When Julia had rough days, all I wanted was to be with her to give her comfort. When she had good days, all I wanted to do was celebrate and luckily, the good days have outnumbered the bad.
The week after scans was great. Julia made it to school for four days and was able to take part in the school presentation to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. If you remember, back in November, Julia’s school raised money in her honor for CHOP. I watched as Julia stood in front of her entire school and told everyone that she wanted to raise money for CHOP to help other children. Only eight years old, she spoke with such poise and grace. She was so proud to be able to help others.
The third cycle of chemo started the following Monday and with it came the fevers. We spent Tuesday and Wednesday evenings in the Emergency Room. Julia’s counts were good and she was given a dose of IV antibiotics and we were able to go home. The first days of chemo were the hardest. It was as if the chemo was pulling all her energy out of her body and Julia was feeling so tired. The fever made it worse, but by Thursday, the fevers were gone and although tired, Julia did not seem to feel as sick.
The weeks have been full of highs – play dates and a special Science Explorers class, Relay for Life and a “Kicking Cancer” kick ball game at school. But, there have also been lows. Preparing Julia for the upcoming stem cell harvest at the end of the month and trying to calm her fears of what is going to happen while she is going through this next step. We also had to tell Julia that our summer vacation with her friend Jake and his family has to be postponed. Julia handled this news with such strength and resiliency. “Will we be able to go after my cancer is gone?” I explained that we needed to wait until the treatment was over and her immunity built up again. “Ok Mom, I can wait. It will be so worth it”. Julia has the uncanny ability to handle disappointment, brush herself off and live in the happiness of the moment. I have so much to learn from her.
The next day at clinic, Julia began her treatment as usual. She spoke with her nurse for the day Erica for a bit. Erica showed Julia some photos on her phone and then Julia saw the “Dentist” game App. Julia played it for a bit and then asked if she could download onto her I-pad. We got the free download and Julia began to play. About 30 minutes later, Dr. Julie and Pattianne came over to give Julia her exam. “Come on Julia, you need to get checked out”.
“It is just not fair!” Dr. Julie and I exchanged glances. Where was this coming from – the disappointment of not going on vacation next month, the fear of the upcoming stem cell harvest? “Mom, it’s not fair”, Julia glanced at the IPad, “I only have one patient, the rest are locked”.
It was then that I knew Julia was talking about her game, living for the moment –again, the child teaches the parent.
So here I sit on Mother’s Day trying to catch up on my updates, letting everyone know how Julia has been the past several weeks. In a word, she is wonderful and I am the proudest, luckiest Mother in the world. Learning every day from my little girl -how to care for others, how to smile at the simplest of things, how to brush myself off when there are setbacks, how to love and how to live.