I am so happy and relieved to report that Lauren is doing MUCH better this month! Her numbers are back to normal and she is almost up to her full dose of nightly oral chemo. Since the last update she has had two IVIg infusions. This has helped her immune system be better equipped to fight off any new viruses. We are still playing it safe and laying low while flu season is still here but she is feeling well and doing great and we are so thankful for that.
It was so nice to see everyone at the Love McKinley Gala last weekend. Obviously, the cause is very close to my heart as we were one of the local families that the foundation truly helped and I have seen first hand the difference that the foundation has made in the lives of the pediatric oncology patients at our local hospital - Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital. When Karen's daughter McKinley was diagnosed with Leukemia I saw how all the moms came together and do what they do best--offer help, support, friendship. At the time Karen and I were really just acquaintances. I brought her family dinner, kept up on her updates on how McKinley was doing. I never in a million years would think that my perfectly healthy 3 year old would be given the EXACT SAME life changing diagnosis about a year later. The day Lauren was diagnosed with Pre B Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia was the worst day of my life. I hate to even think back on the details. One of the only things that honestly kept me from not having an absolute breakdown was thinking of McKinley's sweet face and knowing how well she was doing and it gave me so much hope for Lauren. Karen was one of the first people I told because I knew she would know exactly what I was going through and she did. That day she became one of my closest allies in the fight against cancer. We have seen each other ugly cry, we have talked each other down from the ledge, we have been through many of the same struggles and the victories. It is not a club that anyone wants to be a part of. But it also gives you a different perspective on life. I will never be thankful for Lauren's diagnosis but I am thankful for the way it has made me realize what is important and to try to always appreciate the smallest things. I am thankful for Love McKinley, the little fighter McKinley, who has no idea how her bravery helped me to be strong, and for all of you who showed up, volunteered, donated and came out to support the cause.
McKinley is doing really great. She's loving school, LOVING dance & enjoying being off chemo meds. It really is amazing how much she's grown, how much she's developed & how much more personality she has since she's stopped chemo. All things are looking great which is wonderful news. We've been very busy with advocating & promoting childhood cancer awareness month & attending a lot of events. We did have one scare at this months appointment but all was confirmed negative with an ultrasound. Myself, a few other "cancer moms" & McKinleys oncologist were all concerned about a vein by where her port was placed especially since she had a clot in the past. But all was confirmed ok with a quick ultrasound (Thank God). I'm not sure I'll ever be able to take a deep breath but I do try too. We are praying for a Halloween at home this year (last year we spent 8 days in the hospital fighting a nasty virus over Halloween). And although the nurses & staff came by her hospital room to trick or treat, I'm actually looking forward to sweating & fighting bugs on Halloween night this year. It's the little things 😉 Thank You as always for keeping McKinley in your thoughts & prayers.