One year ago today I was playing with my sweet daughter and our lives forever changed. While I was playing with her I felt something on her back that didn't seem right. After looking further I discovered the lump on her back. I immediately called Ryan to see what we should do. Within minutes I made an appointment with our pediatrician for the following morning. An hour later I discovered that I was pregnant.
After Ryan arrived home we discussed the possibilities of what we were facing with Audrey I was overcome with emotion. I could hear myself tell him that we were never going to have more children because of this uncertainty; yet, I knew I needed to tell Ryan about the baby we were expecting. It was too much information for one night. Too much to think about. I couldn't be excited about being pregnant though we had been hoping for another baby for over eighteen months. I convinced myself that if I had to loose a child it couldn't be a child that I already had and loved. For the longest time I could not let myself love this new baby as I never expected to hold it.
That night my mind raced. Sleep was not a possibility. I thought of the worst possibilities. I kept thinking of my faith the knowledge that I have that families are eternal. I know that we have a Father in Heaven that loves us and knows us individually and that he has an eternal plan so we can return to Him and live in His presence again - but at that point, I didn't care. I didn't want my sweet little girl to leave me. I kept saying over and over that I want her to grow and experience all of the wonderful things this life has to offer. My heart hurt and not knowing what we were dealing with was suffocating.
The following day we were told by the radiologist that the mass had characteristics that were not typically benign. At that moment I knew we were dealing with cancer. Cancer in a little innocent girl, my little innocent girl.
The next three weeks was a living nightmare. In that time we met with a pediatric surgeon, had the tumor removed, were introduced to Dr. Beaty a pediatric oncologist and had a port placed under Audrey's skin to make her more easily accessible for chemotherapy.
Now, a year later she has survived chemotherapy and proton radiation. She is a stronger, healthier girl because of the experiences she has had over the past year. We, as a family, have learned together, struggled together and grown together. Our family came together and helped in so many ways. Our friends whom we already thought were great were able to truly astound us with their love and willingness to help. We have made many new friends. We have met three of the most incredible doctors and entire staff of nurses that we have grown to love and care about. We have been included in a fantastic group of pediatric cancer patients. And that little baby we found out about the same day Audrey's mass was discovered has entered our family and has our love and affection.
Our lives will forever be changed. Though we will never be glad for our experiences regarding Audrey's health, we have taken what she was dealt and have grown from it. Our baby girl is a fighter. She has gained so much knowledge and compassion from what she has gone through it will shape her for the rest of her life. Many people have said that due to her young age she will probably forget most of it. I hope for her sake she doesn't. I hope she remembers her family holding her tight. I hope she remembers the care that she had in the clinic and hospital. I hope she remembers the friends we have made. I hope she remembers the nurses who love her. I hope she remembers her strength and courage. I know that due to these trials she will make a difference in someone else's' life the way she has mine.
Tomorrow, the anniversary of her first MRI, we go in for her second set of scans (MRI and CT scans) post chemotherapy. If all of the information is favorable and the tumor bed is still clear and there is no more growth of cancer cells we will schedule the removal of her port, another step closer to a healthy life.