Life is tough my darling, but so are you

Life is tough my darling, but so are you. Stephanie Bennett-Henry

You never know how tough and strong you can be until you have a sick child. You want to run and hide. You get angry. You scream. You cry. You feel helpless. You feel fear. You don’t understand all the big medical words.

Confusion sets in. You feel small, helpless, weak.

You fall to your knees. You look to the sky. You pray.

You find strength. You find hope. You find understanding. You find peace.

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She Made It – A Little Snippet on My Thoughts of Mallorie’s Last Chemo Shot

1510006_747034938705261_5810347543368150990_nI just saw Mallorie’s tweet……”19-hour countdown and then bye bye chemo.”

I have imagined in my head many times what this day would feel like. The day when we no longer have to plan our lives around cancer. And in less than twenty-four hours, Mallorie will receive her last shot of methotrexate.

Emotions are a bit overwhelming at this moment. I think back to the beginning. The beginning of Mal’s journey, our journey. It was so unexpected, this diagnosis the doctors called leukemia. At that time, leukemia seemed like a monster trying to steal from me, my little girl. Now, it’s all gone.

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Mallorie’s battle was one with many twist and turns. Rough, exhausting, painful, and unknown. She lost her hair, she lost weight, she lost strength, but she never lost her spirit. She had good days. She had bad days. She had days she wanted to give up. She had days she told me to not give up.

There were tears. There was laughter. There was anger. There were screams.

Watching Mallorie slowly start to wither away in the early stages of treatment is something I will never forget. Flesh on bones. Shunk in cheeks. Frail and weak. Makes me nauseated just thinking of it. Thankfully, we had a fantastic Oncologist and wonderful nurses.

Speaking of nurses, we were blessed by so many people, but the ones who kept us going were the nurses. They became immediate family. Seeing us at our worst. Giving the meds. Hearing the cries of pain. Lending an ear in the middle of the night. The nurses are heroes.

 

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Days turned to weeks. Weeks turned to months. Months turned to years.

Mallorie got stronger. Her hair came back. (Curly and brown. Before cancer, it was straight and blonde.) She grew. Hospital stays decreased. Lengthly chemo stop. Port came out. Things were semi-normal.

Now, hours away from her getting to ring the bell. I am excited. She did it! We did it! By the grace of God and prayers. By wonders in medicine and skills of our doctors, Mallorie will be heading into her Freshman year cancer free. Mallorie Wall

Just Keep Swimming.

 

Down She Goes…..

What do yfallingou do when you find yourself slipping? Do you try to catch yourself? Do you blame the thing you slipped on? Do you reach out to grab something to stop the fall? Do you just expect the worse and hit the ground? No doubt about it, falling down is no fun and embarrassing. You could get hurt, you could hurt others? Did you know “slipping” is both a physical and spiritual thing? You can get tripped up and fall physically, but you can also get tripped up and fall spiritually.

As you know, the past year has been a crazy ride. And I am pretty sure the past year is taking a toll on me. I don’t like to admit defeat or show my weak side, but just keeping it real, I feel like I am slipping in both areas. I am physically and mentally drained most of the time. I haven’t opened my Bible in a couple of months. I have an negative attitude way too much. I find myself in dream land more than reality. This is a sucky, sucky place to be. But one thing I do know is I need to refocus myself and allow God to be in control again.

Just like when we physically fall, when I feel like I am slipping spiritually, I start to reach out and start grasping for anything to help the emptiness go away. Instead of hitting my knees and asking God for his hand, I turn away. And it seems the more I turn, the worse and more lost I feel. I have been here before, but it just seems like this time it is harder to find my way back. It is freaking me out.

So I am asking for a favor. If you are reading this and are a praying person, please pray for me. Pray for the fog to be lifted off me and I can find my way back to my killer-awesome self. I ask that you soften my heart for my family and to others. I want to bring God back as number one. Thank you.

It was Saturday December 15th, 2013. Our day was normal and things had went as planned, grocery store, light cleaning and church. Mallorie, my 11-year-old daughter, had been hanging out with me for most of that day. When we got home from church, one of her friends came over to hangout. About thirty minutes after her friend arrived, Mallorie comes out of her room and shows me her legs. Up and down them were these tiny red spots. I really didn’t think much of it at first. I asked her if they itched and she said no. I sent her back to her room and began to look up what it could be online. Since she volunteers with the preschool age children at church, I immediately started thinking, “What if it is something contagious?” After a little bit of searching online, I came up with two possible solutions for her rash. It was either strep throat or mono. I debated about taking her to the ER. I didn’t want to spend the $50 for the co-pay, especially so close to Christmas and I definitely didn’t want to spend what was left of my Saturday night in the ER. Even though I didn’t want to go, Mallorie kept telling me that something didn’t feel right, and she was scared. I rolled my eyes, thinking she was being over dramatic, and we loaded up in the car and headed off to our local hospital. When we got there everything was pretty much standard. Vital signs, temp taken, and symptoms discussed. Doctor came in, took a look at her legs and stated they needed to do some blood work to determine if the culprit was strep. I was thinking that was what it was because it was going around her school. Blood was drawn, again standard procedure, right? Well, when the doctor came back in a bit later and said they need to take more blood, my mom senses started to kick in. Not too worry and a bit annoyed, they took more blood. We sat and waited. When the doctor walked back in the room, I could tell something wasn’t right. He sat down on the chair next to the bed. Honestly, I don’t really remember what he said, because after he said the word leukemia, my mind stopped functioning. All I do remember was high white blood cell count, ambulance ride and hearing Mallorie start to cry. When I came back to reality, I immediately wrapped her in my arms and we began to pray. Tears streaming down our faces, holding hands, we began to pray for peace, wisdom and healing. We felt better. After that, things moved so fast, yet seemed slow. Life pretty much stood still, but kept moving. It was weird. We had to be transported to another hospital and the ride seemed to go on forever. I kept replaying in my mind all the wonderful moments Mallorie had brought to my life. Then I started thinking about all the times I got upset with her for stupid stuff or that I didn’t take the five minutes to watch something she wanted to show me online. I started thinking, “Have I truly been intentional with her as her parent?” At that moment, sitting in the back of the ambulance, I was hit with the realization that time here on this earth is only temporary and Mallorie’s time in this world may be over. I didn’t want to think that, but it is honestly where my mind went. I felt like I had been hit by a semi-truck. How could this be? I mean, just an hour ago my daughter was hanging out with her friend. Now we are admitted into the PEDS unit waiting to see if Mallorie really had cancer. The rest of the night seemed to be a complete blur. I do remember feeling at peace with the current situation. God was wrapped completely around me and Mallorie. I rested a bit and as the sun started to rise, the phone calls began to grandparents and family. Within the hour her room was filled with loved ones and prayers. At 9am on December 16th, 2013, Mallorie was diagnosed with T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). Again, I had that same feeling I felt at the previous hospital. I remember thinking, “My daughter has cancer? My daughter can’t have cancer because stuff like this does not happen to us.” We all cried. And we cried a lot. We prayed. And we prayed a lot. But once we heard the survival rate and cure percentage, I felt so much better. Now, it is time to kick this in the butt and start fighting. We have only been on this journey a short time. Within these couple of weeks we have seen many miracles. Not just physical healing miracles, but spiritual and emotional miracles. Family has come together, worked together and prayed together. The medical staff at the hospital were amazing, helpful and caring. Friends and strangers pulled together and showered us with prayers, food and words of encouragement. Even during all the chaos and fears, there has been peace and understanding. I wish things would just go back to normal. But then again, why would I want that? So many wonderful things have come from Mallorie’s cancer. God does make everything beautiful in His own time. I believe many lives have been touched by Mallorie before and after this diagnosis. And I also believe only the best is yet to come. Don’t get me wrong, I get mad, frustrated, emotional and even have the occasional pity party, but in the end I know God’s glory will be shown.  Mallorie is a bright, caring, God-loving girl. She has been so strong during all this. And I know it is because of her faith and all the support. God is in total control and I want to thank everyone for all their goodness. I know there will be ups and downs, but she will win this fight.