And Abby is still fighting cancer.
Everyone who knows me knows that my granddaughter was diagnosed with stage 4, high risk Neuroblastoma in November 2016. She has endured very aggressive treatment for the last 14 months. Chemo. Surgery. Stem cel transplant. Radiation. Immunotherapy. Countless procedures that no parent should ever have to witness their child suffer through.
But here's the thing ~ as the adults fret, and worry, and cry and hope and pray ~ this little angel just keeps living her life. She watches Barney and she holds on to her WhoWho (who has accompanied her every single minute of every single procedure every single time), she laughs, she smiles, she sleeps and I hope she dreams. I hope she dreams of the times when it doesn't hurt, of those days when there are no pokes and prods and people with masks surrounding her. She is my hero. She reminds me that no matter how bad things are, you get up and you carry on. She gives me strength and courage and grace.
I'm not sure why I'm writing about Abby today. Well, part of me does. Tomorrow, she goes back to CHEO (Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario) for the week. She finished her last treatments in early January. Now come the scans and bone marrow tests and MRIs to tell us if the torture she has endured for 14 months did its job. It's hard to explain how I'm feeling right now. Part of me can't wait to hear the results. And part of me wishes time would stop right now. It's so scary to wait for news that will decide a little child's life. Not being home makes it worse. There's guilt that I'm not there for my son and for Abby. Derek knows I am thinking about them both every minute of the day, but I feel like I should be there. Logically, I know that nothing will change if I get on a plane and fly home. It won't change or influence the test results. But I wish I could just hold Abby in my arms and whisper how much I love her. So I am getting Derek to do that for me every day.
Ah, Derek ~ my son has been so amazingly brave and strong for his daughter during this ordeal. He has been by her side constantly and has seen and heard and experienced stuff no parent should ever see or hear or experience. He has endured personal hardship in addition to Abby's cancer that would have brought most people to their knees. And yet he keeps going. His love and devotion to his daughter know absolutely no bounds. He has given up so much to be able to be Abby's comfort, her rock, the face she sees when she wakes up in the middle of the night or the arms who hold her while she suffers through yet another poke or prod. My fears about this week and the results they might bring include what will happen to Derek. I can't imagine what is going through his mind the last few days and how he will manage in the coming week. I wish I could take all his pain and worry and anguish away. I wish I could give him back this time with Abby, pain and cancer free, where he could just enjoy time with his little baby girl like any dad and daughter should be able to enjoy. I can't do that either. All I can do is hold them both in my thoughts and hope that science and medicine did their job.
On that note, I also have to give thanks to our Canadian single payer health care system. As horrific as the past 15 months has been, the one thing we never had to worry about was how we were going to pay for Abby's care and treatment. I'm not going to use this to preach or attack other medical systems. I will simply say I am eternally grateful for the excellent and compassionate care that Abby received from her nurses, her oncology team, the volunteers who gave Derek some much needed breaks, the people at Ronald McDonald house, Graham, who co-ordinated her treatments and appointments, the Lamplighters who helped out with an iPad so Abby could watch her beloved Barney, and so many other people who were part of Abby's journey. Abby's long road has been shared with so many talented, dedicated, kind and compassionate people. I have always believed that whatever the situation, no matter how bad it is, there is always something to be grateful for. I am truly grateful that Abby was born in Canada, where we have access to quality first rate heath care, and for the people who have worked tirelessly to help heal her.
So this week, we will hopefully get some answers. I never ask for much but today, I will ask whoever reads this blog to think of Abby and her family and to send good thoughts to the universe on this little girl's behalf.
|Abby and her proud new daddy|
|Mrs Claus and her granddaughter|
|A dad and his girl|
|always holding on to WhoWho|
|Peek a boo :)|
|Abby's 2nd birthday :)|
|this girl is styling!|
|another medical procedure, another WhoWho moment|
|cuddling Abby a few days before I left for Paris|
|My 3 loves ~ Charlie, Seb and Abby|