March 6th. My parents’ anniversary.
That was the significance of this date until March 6th, 2012. It was this day, 2 years ago, that Phoenix was declared in Remission.
Remission = Cancer free. What a wonderful and hope-filled word.
It was a weekday and it was my turn to spend time at home. I work from home so that’s what I was doing when I found out. We had been staying in the hospital straight since the second week of January. Well, we spent 2 weeks at home during the holidays and then we were back in the hospital. We found out Phoenix’s leukemia relapsed while she was on her last module of treatment just after Halloween of 2011. Since receiving this terrible news, we were on a race to get her into remission so that she could receive a Bone Marrow Transplant; the last resort for a cure.
Each month since the relapse, she underwent strong and painful chemo to get her back into remission. The plan was to give her aggressive chemo and get her straight into Bone Marrow Transplant. The Drs told us that because the relapse happened while she was in treatment, her chances of remission were very slim. So each month we waited to see if the chemo worked.
November didn’t work.
December didn’t work.
January didn’t work.
Our hearts and Phoenix’s little body were on a roller coaster taking us between absolute panic and intoxicating joy on a daily basis. Hers was a complicated cancer. It was very aggressive, very powerful; just like Phoenix’s spirit. It was a part of her that would not be ignored and it was winning.
After the January round of treatment, we found out that the cancer was 70% in her blood. What that means is 70% of the cells in her blood were cancerous. Wow. This was the highest since she relapsed. The chemo had made it worse. What were we supposed to do? So we met with the Drs and the grandparents and it was discussed that there was one more tool in the tool box. One more chance to get her there and if that didn’t work……well, we would have to cross that bridge if we got to it. So February’s round of chemo started. Then Papa_Danger made this sign to hang on Phoenix’s hospital door:
To All Who Enter Here
If you are coming here to feel sorry for my condition, go elsewhere. I am incredibly tough and will make a full recovery. What is full? That is the absolute utmost physically my body has the ability to recover. Then I will push that about 20% further through sheer mental tenacity and with the continued support of my family, friends and hospital staff. I am a warrior just like every child who is undergoing treatment in this hospital. This room you are about to enter is a room of fun, optimism, positive energy, love and intense rapid regrowth. If you are not prepared for that, GO ELSEWHERE!!
From: Phoenix aka Baby Danger
And then it was March 6 and we had REMISSION. And I was at home. It was a sunny day unlike today where it’s been rainy and cold. I posted the update to facebook and a ton of celebratory messages started flooding in from all over. I had to finish my workday and then I raced back to the hospital to hug my beautiful little warrior. She did it. The chemo worked.
And for 2 weeks we were elated. We were finally moving onto the next step towards a cure. For 2 weeks we were hopeful. We could see the light. We could see the end of hospital stays and painful chemo. After 2 weeks she started having fevers again and the roller coaster started back up. I’ll save that story for another day.
But for March 6th we had Remission. What a wonderful and hope-filled word. We could breath again.
And now some #ThrowbackThursday pictures of Phoenix to put some smiles on faces, mostly mine. I will never get used to this life without you, Phoenix. The colours are duller, the sounds are mumbled, the experiences pale in comparison to when you were here. What do I do with all this love I have for you Phoenix? It overflows into the silent emptiness that surrounds me. I’m lost.