Phoebe received her second life saving transplant two years ago today. This second year has not been without bumps. In fact, the word bump does not even come close to describe the chaos and heartache that rocked our world this past year. We trudged and trudged through relapse, radiation, and more chemotherapy. We moved away from home and outside of Canada once again with hope of a cure. We worried about failing kidneys, side effects, blood infections, and more cancer. We wondered whether or not we were doing the right thing. We struggled with the reality of decisions that were made in desperation. We said good bye to any real hope of Phoebe ever having biological children. We struggled with decisions to give more chemo and the need to resort to radiation. We mourned the loss of many friends.
We gave thanks for each day and we celebrated life. Pure and simple. Second chances became third chances and Phoebe once again taught us the power of hope and love and strength.
We held on. Breathless and fearful, but we held on.
The road became easier, gentler, and with each good test result, more hopeful.
I still wonder if a day will come when I will no longer feel Phoebe's tummy while she sleeps, her lymph nodes, listen to her breathe, and search for clues and answers to calm my worried mind. I do this each night in silent longing for everything I touch to be "normal" and because I just can't help myself. Afterall, a massive leukemic mass grew in Phoebe's belly, crushing her kidneys, yet remained undetected despite the number of doctors who routinely felt her belly. This will never happen again.
Sometimes I feel like I am holding my breath, rushing through the days so that we can get closer to solid ground. Then something as simple as watching Phoebe and Mae play stops me in my tracks.
They play and laugh and fight and love each other and I realize that we are as normal as can be. Or as normal as possible under the circumstances, with trips to CHEO, St.Jude and biweekly chemo thrown into the mix.
We had some normal today and a beautiful memory.
Today Phoebe sat on Santa's knee for the very first time. With Mae by her side she marched up to him and boldly told him that she would like him to bring her three dollies. To this he said, "3 dollars? Would you like to ride the subway?"
A funny Santa made my day. That and the smiles on Mae and Phoebe's faces. And 730 days of life.
And this, the cutest Rudolf ever.