I was rocking my 23 month old "little air bear" to sleep for her daily nap, I held her longer than usual and she fell asleep in my arms. I looked at her beautiful face and I marveled at how much I loved my littlest child. I reflected back on how we had giggled together while playing on the floor and I couldn't help noticing how strong her spirit was, and yet how weak her body looked. She was very pale, extremely small for her age, and was covered in bruises, many in very odd places. During that quiet moment, God touched my heart and told me that something was not right with Erin's body.
Two hours after a blood test on June, 1st 2010, our Pediatrician called and said he was certain Erin had cancer in her blood. The next morning our Oncologist at Primary Children's Medical Center confirmed that Erin had a rare and severe from of blood cancer, AML (Acute Myeloid Leukemia, type M7). She was in the medium risk category, but did not have a sibling match for a bone marrow transplant, so we went ahead without a transplant.
Erin's treatments consisted of 5 rounds of intense high-dose chemotherapy lasting over 8 1/2 months. Of that time, she spent 146 days living in isolation at Primary Children's. Through it all, she was such a happy shining smiling girl despite her many fevers, scans, and sores. She never threw a tantrum about wanting to go home or leave her room, somehow she knew that she had to live there in that tiny room.
Though there were many hard days we saw many miracles and blessings. They came through phone calls, texts, messages, letters, friends, words of encouragement from our nurses and Oncologists, and through complete strangers. It was those miracles and blessings that helped us cope.
I prayed every day that the spirit from our home would also reside in Erin's hospital room so that our family would feel like we were still all together. God blessed us with that, and Erin's room had a sweet feeling in it.
I believe that the trial of Erin's cancer gave our family a time to grow closer. It taught me about God's love. There was a time when I simply wanted God to heal Erin and be done with cancer. I knew that He could heal her right then and there. God did not heal Erin in answer to my sincere pleadings, but He opened my heart and helped me feel the love that He had for Erin. He let me know that He was just as concerned with her as I was. It was truly glorious to feel the love my Heavenly Father had for my daughter.
We made many close friendships through Erin's cancer. We drew close to other families also going through cancer, and created everlasting friendships. Erin finished her treatments for cancer just one week before Christmas. My eyes teared up all Christmas morning while watching our family being all together.
Erin is now 3 years old and is a healthy and vibrantly strong cancer-free little girl. There still is hardly a day that goes by that I don't think about what we went through. Some days I worry that it will all happen again, but I feel God's love strongly that no matter what comes our way, we can handle it and learn and grow from it.
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