Today, exactly one year ago, Arlie was diagnosed with cancer. I've tried to avoid the feelings I had that day. Just move forward, the only way we have made it this year.
They unhooked her from all monitors, she was getting her appetite back and there was even conversation that we might even get to go home! We had almost been in the hospital for a week at this point with no answers. There were at least 10-15 tests pending and we were just waiting for results. That night we colored and watched elmo and she seemed to be in great spirits. We fell asleep together in that little hospital crib all snuggled up, real close. I remember her being so restless that night. She had thrown up multiple times, but that wasn't anything new. She had been vomiting for over a week at that point. I cleaned up the mess and held her until she fell back asleep. Moments later something woke me. Her body was frozen, stiff. She was having a seizure and I remember grabbing her up frantically screaming as I watched her little face turn purple. The nurse staff made it in the room in seconds and all I could do was keep screaming, asking them to help my baby.
Those 5 minutes felt like an eternity. My whole body went numb and I became catatonic. I felt so helpless as I watched the doctors roll my baby away to take to her to the PICU unit. The unknown if the seizure did any permanent damage was so much to wrap our heads around. As we entered the PICU, all we could do was cry and stare at our perfect baby. We anxiously waited for her to wake up in hopes she would say something or just give us a sweet Arlie smile. As soon as those big blue eyes opened she said my name, mama. That's all I needed at that moment. I held her and rocked her and began nursing her again. It was the best thing I could do for her at the moment and it helped me as well.
After testing we still did not have answers to why she had the seizure. We believe it was a sign that they needed to take her case more serious. All of the tests they had done prior to the seizure started to come back, all negative(we were so thankful no positives!) The doctors decided they wanted to do a bone marrow biopsy to rule out some things. And they were VERY confident that it would be ruling out things. At this point we were desperate. We needed Arlie to get better! We waited patiently as they did the procedure. This was the first time she had ever been sedated so my mama heart was a mess. We were hopeful and exhausted. Results would follow the next morning so we tried our best to keep a positive attitude and get some rest and snuggles.
My mama had just left for the evening & Arlie had started perking up after a long day of pokes. We were VERY surprised & caught off guard when 2 doctors came in with results at 9pm that night. They introduced themselves and explained they were oncology doctors. My heart sank. Why were the results in so quickly? Was it a good or bad thing? The doctors sat down and didn't really sugar coat things. I remember him saying the first words.
PRE B ALL followed by LEUKEMIA.
Things became a blur for a moment after I heard those words. There was 30% leukemia cells in her bone marrow and there were no cancer cells in her blood yet, that's why it took so long getting answers to her sickness. I tried holding on to that as a positive, anything positive. We were told she had the "good type of leukemia" and that she was in good hands. I couldn't even cry. I was in so much shock. I never imagined I would have a child with cancer. After the diagnosis we were immediately taken to the oncology(cancer) floor. 6A. I remember walking through the doors and seeing walls full of pictures of bald children. That was my first impression....