We were preparing to leave for Spring Break in 2014 to head to Florida. The evening we were supposed to leave Angel ended up coughing really bad and didn’t seem her usual self. I took her to the emergency room that evening and they diagnosed her with whooping cough and gave her a steroid to help her get over it. They also told me that she would more than likely run a fever with the whooping cough so we were to just alternate Tylenol and Ibuprofen to tackle the fever and she should be better. We went ahead and went on our trip as planned giving her meds as instructed yet she didn’t seem to be getting any better. By the time we returned a week later she was still sick but both her siblings and I were as well so off to the doctor we all went. We were then all diagnosed with colds and she had bronchitis they said, this was Sunday morning April 6th. By the evening of the 6th we became concerned about her color and her overall condition so we decided I would take her to Mercy peds to her pediatrician first thing Monday morning. On the morning of the 7th I took her to see her doctor thinking she had just gotten hit with the same bug as everyone else had and it was just hitting her harder. Little did we know our life was about to drastically change and everything we knew as a normal life would change into a new normal we never thought we would have to worry about.
One look at her and her pediatrician was instantly concerned and ordered blood tests to be done immediately. There we found out that her Hemoglobin was less than 5 and she needed to immediately go to the hospital and be admitted to perform more tests to figure out what was wrong with her. So across the street we went to check in for tests at Mercy. They drew blood again and started talking to specialists about things I hoped were just precautionary measures. Unfortunately by 8 pm on Monday night I was talking to an oncologist for the first time, Dr. Rokes, he was telling me that they believed our child has leukemia and that to confirm the diagnosis we would have to be transferred to Blank Children’s Hospital for a spinal tap. That’s when we began to learn a new normal.
We were at Blank by 10 pm that night being admitted setting up testing for morning as we continued to pray that it was just something simple. So on the morning of the 8th we watched them take her back for her testing where it was confirmed she in fact has Leukemia. So began the learning a new normal, meeting a new family and finding strength in the staff at Blank Children’s Hospital and Cancer Connection who I refer to as our family and appreciate every day.
One of our first trials we ran into was her port not functioning properly. So after just 30 days of being diagnosed and getting our first port we found ourselves sending her into surgery again for a new port. Thankfully that port has continued to work throughout our treatment.
We had a few hiccups here and there, ran fevers and some hospital stays throughout the next year of treatment. Through this whole time Angel has been a trooper. She adjusted to our new normal and she even helps the nurses on a very regular basis.
Unfortunately January 7th of 2015 she had been running a low grade fever the night before and I woke up at around 5 am to her running a higher fever and she started getting sick on me. I instantly became concerned with her getting sick. Moments later she started convulsing and having a seizure. I called 911 and they were supposed to be sending help. Unfortunately where we live they dispatched from Midwest ambulance which is clear across town and the weather wasn’t very helpful either. It took them approximately 45 minutes to get there and that’s when we found out her blood sugar was only at 14. They tried to give her a shot in her leg to bring her blood sugar up but when we got to the hospital we found out that it was unsuccessful and her sugar was still at 14.
Then began the longest week of my life, because she had been so low for so long she wasn’t breathing on her own. I was told they were going to have to intubate my baby. So began the week in PICU. She had pneumonia, H flu and RSV so again the odds stacked against her. Yet finally after some amazing doctors and nurses we were able to take the tube out for the final time after a prior failed attempt.
Thankfully to date we have had no more major bumps in the road thus far. Fingers crossed it will stay this way. We are almost at the end its been a long road but she is a trooper and continues to persevere through it all. Angel shows us strength and courage every day.