What a Difference A Year Makes.

01 March 2010

People always throw that phrase around.  But it is true. 

Last year.  Ugh last year was rough.  Really rough.

No one should ever watch their one year old go through multiple surgeries and chemo.  I can't even imagine.

Little girls should have hair.  They shouldn't know what ports are.  They shouldn't spend half their year in and out of the hospital and miss birthday parties and know their nurses better than their friends.

I told Nikki when all of this started, I can see them at sixteen.  Still friends.  All of this a distant memory.  I still do.

And truthfully, my confidence that she would beat this horrible disease only wavered once.  It pains me to say that I doubted it even for a second.  It was the phone call at the park on a beautiful summer day, more chemo... the tumors hadn't responded well enough to do surgery.  I listened as carefully as I could to her words, trying to process the idea that a miracle wasn't happening.  I was so sure a miracle was supposed to happen.  It pained me as I watched my own son playing and running and jumping while trying to swallow what I was hearing.

More praying and bargaining with God and wondering what in the world was the purpose in all of this.  

There were tears, lots of tears, mostly at night when I went to bed after talking to Nikki at 3 am about nonsense. It was the realizing how strong someone has to be to endure a child having cancer and still ask YOU how things in your life are.  To still be involved in our friendship, to give even if it's only a smile and some kind words about how big Finn was getting.   And you want to be strong in return, to assure her that soon things would be back to normal... whatever normal is.  You want to say something, to do something to take this away, but really there is nothing to say other than you love them and you will do anything you can to help. 

But there is nothing.  And you are helpless until you and a team of angels start planning the mother of all fundraisers.  Because it makes you feel as if you're doing something, in the face of having nothing.  And you know that Nicole and Jon would do the very same for you because that is the friendship you have.  And that little girl and her parents must be doing something right, because after selling 500 tickets, we had to tell people we were out.  And still they donated and volunteered and turned out in such force that it brought tears to my eyes.  The love in that room was undeniable.  And that night, if I had stopped moving for a minute to think about it, I would have lost it. 

{Meg, Nikki, & Me}

And now, now that we are past it.  We have reason to wear those red dancing shoes and do twirls in the living room.  And play with our friends.  And close the door, plot with Finnegan, and pour half a container of watermelon bubbles into the play tub to give our baby a bath.  And give cuddles.  And look... LOOK at all that hair, I just know it's going to be as long as mine soon Miss Annabelle.

I found out two weeks after Annabelle's diagnosis that my boss, my friend, Amy had cancer.  I called to check in, like we did every couple of months told her the news of Annabelle when she told me.   And when we would talk over the next several months, she always asked how Annabelle was doing and that she couldn't imagine a baby having to go through chemo and that it just shouldn't have to happen.  Amy lost her fight in August and three weeks later, Annabelle had the surgery to remove the neuroblastoma and our prayers for so many months were answered.  I can't help but think that maybe, just maybe Amy put in a good word for her up there and said that she had endured enough, it was time for her miracle to arrive. 

And maybe it just brings me some comfort in a time when I am missing her and still celebrating Annabelle.  I'm just so thankful that my heart has enough room to do both. 

So, thank you.  Thank you for your prayers, for your kindness, for your help and your support.  Please continue to say a prayer or send a good thought, this time in thanks.  And for continued good health for Annabelle.

What a difference a year makes.


Jackie said...

Please note next time you write a tear-jerker! Glad to see Annabelle doing so well.

Elise said...

Jackie, thats exactly what I was gonna say. Blubbering in the middle of a packed library, thanks sister!

belles♥mom said...

Ummmmm yeah its like the fourth time I've read it and I'm still crying like an idiot lol. Just wanted to say thank you to Michelle et al. for being so amazing through this whole ordeal and to the rest of you for praying for my princess, her doctors and nurses and all of our family and friends.
She is such a joy and we are so blessed for every moment God has given us with her. Cuddles, Hugs and Kisses to all! ♥ Annabelle's mommy

SugarBritches said...

So scary! And sad...and now I'm doing the ugly cry.

Annabelle is a beautiful child. Blessing to her and her gorgeous mommy and family.

belles♥mom said...

So I totally forgot to add that I LOVE that you added the bubble bath story, those kiddos crack me up! Thanks again hon!

BunnyMendelbaum said...

Here's to leaving the bad year in the dust and to many, many more good years ahead! Go Annabelle!

Ruth said...

Well, I'm in tears. A year ago I was in tears all the time. Today, these are good tears. Also a thank you for this wonderful blog. Nikki, Jon, and Miss Belle are so fortunate to have had friens and stangers alike participate, pray and help in any way they could to help this beautiful child. She is so precious to her grandpa and I. Please continue to pray for her and other children and their famililes that haveand will encounter this terrible disease. May they have good health!

SmartBear said...

Oh wow...You are one strong Mama and that is one brave little baby girl! I just stopped by to say a big thank you for visiting lil ol me. And then I found this amazing post. Truly....you and your family deserve the best 2010 EVER!

Rebecca D said...

I too am in tears... my husband thinks I'm nuts... what a beautiful, & sad story... wow... thanks for sharing.

Lori said...

*tears* So glad for the many blessings she has received!!

Elise said...

This is some great inspiration for this weekend. i'll probably be reading it from someone's phone at around 4 am to get me through! love you :)

Carrie said...

I was just at a 3 month follow up with my oncologist this afternoon (I got Hodgkin's Lymphoma at 25) and the nursing staff was all commenting on what a difference a year has made for me too (new puppy, engagement, and new job all since I finished my treatment) and today I had enough hair to leave some behind in the comb since it started falling out. It really is mind blowing how much can change in a year.

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