Leah had an MRI yesterday, and the results are good. The tumor is stable, meaning there’s been no change since her October MRI. It’s been twenty-one months since the last progression which was discovered in July 2017. In the past, there was evidence of progression at twenty months. Definitely feeling a little triumphant that we cleared the twenty-month mark this time. Her next MRI will be in one year, unless we have concerns.
Unfortunately, remission or NED (no evidence of disease) will never be a part of our journey. Whenever I read stories about people who have “beat cancer,” my heart aches a little. It’s very hard to accept that this tumor will never be dead or gone. Leah has suffered so many horrible side effects of treatment, and I often feel that it was all for nothing.
Leah’s 15th birthday is this Saturday, and at her MRI yesterday, many of the radiology staff wished her a happy birthday and said they feel as though they’ve watched her grow up. It’s hard to believe it’s been six and a half years since her diagnosis.
After I’ve changed into scrubs, I’m allowed to join Leah in the MRI room. I sit in a wooden chair, right next to the machine, so she can see me if she needs. If I peek through the MRI tunnel, I can see the movie she is watching in the mirror of the cage that holds her head in place. I’ve tried reading to pass the time, but I can’t focus my mind on anything but her while she’s lying there for close to an hour and a half. Yesterday, as I waited, the past six and a half years flashed before me like a movie. I saw her crossing the bridge- running, jumping, spinning, just like in dance class- from the parking deck to the hospital for her first MRI- wearing her Justice yoga pants and a long sleeve t-shirt. I remembered telling her it was our lucky day when the receptionist was able to locate the MRI order that I forgot to bring to the appointment. I saw her playing with puzzles on the radiology waiting room floor, surrounded by kind nurses and the child-life specialist, as I listened to a doctor on a land line tell me, “There is a mass on Leah’s brainstem. And there could be grave consequences.” And so it began, the chemo, the pain, the sadness. When the MRI was over yesterday, for the first time, I really didn’t want to know the results. I only desired one more day of peace- just the way things are, nothing worse. Words can’t express the relief I felt when I received the MRI results this morning. 365 beautiful days ahead, just the way things are…
This weekend we will celebrate Leah’s birthday by FINALLY getting her ears pierced, and of course, presents and cake. Last week we celebrated a little early with our dear friends who visited from Florida. They are our sunshine! ☀️
Finally, thank you so much for supporting Gracie during Senior Survivor at Stow-Munroe Falls High School. Gracie and Jordy raised $2024.25 for St. Baldrick’s in honor of our Brave Strong Girl! Your support fills us with hope and strength, and helps us find good in our childhood cancer journey. We are so grateful. 💛