We brought Lauren in to her pediatrician because of some bruising. We weren’t overly concerned, kids get bruises. The pediatrician shared our sentiments but had us go to the lab to get some blood work anyway. As I waited with Lauren in my arms patiently, I saw the reaction from the technician. She turned ghost white as she reviewed the results. She printed them and struggled to put them into the envelope as she was nervously shaking. She called our pediatrician and he told me that I had to bring Lauren to the emergency room at Yale.
This was the very beginning. I picked up Katrina from work and headed up there. I couldn’t muster the courage to tell her that it was serious, maybe I didn’t want to think that it was serious. I down played it, but I knew it was serious because of the technician, her look will stay with me forever.
Hours passed (maybe they were minutes, there was no way of telling because our world had stopped) and in walked an oncologist. I remember thinking, “what in the world is an oncologist doing in here, kids don’t get cancer.” I was wrong, so very very wrong. Lauren, our baby, had cancer at just 16 months old.
For me, everything became a blur. The nurses and doctors were in and out of the room, Katrina and I hadn’t slept or eaten. It was a complete whirlwind. One thing I do remember was sitting in the room, I put a pillow over my face and cried like I’ve never cried before. It didn’t last long, but I remember screaming. I lifted my head and looked to my left and I saw her face. With lines coming out of her and blood transfusions pumping into her, Lauren looked at me concerned. Not for herself but for me. It was that exact moment is where I had a paradigm shift.
We often talk about Lauren’s strength but there really are no words to describe. We witnessed her endure things that no person should ever have to. She was always so matter of fact about everything. She rarely gave us any trouble with medicine or procedures (although she HATED bandaids or tape being pulled off). I can go on and on and on….
Now she gets monthly check ups for blood work (to make sure it hasn’t come back). They are debilitating to Katrina and I. There’s always that fear of relapse. We get nervous at any fever, sign of tiredness and bruises… those damn bruises.
We can’t say enough about how proud we are of Lauren. At just 16 months old she took that part of her life and courageously faced it. Although we are never out of the woods with this whole cancer thing, we are happy to have closed the door on it. Now, at 4 years old, we know she can tackle anything and we look forward to the next door for Lauren to go through…