|Abby at Science Club just days before heading to the ER|
I woke early on a Saturday morning in August, 4 a.m. early, to the boing boing ring of my phone. I think we've all had it happen. A call too late at night or early in the morning, that makes your stomach flop. Something is wrong, no one would call this early unless it was an emergency. I leaped from my bed, running through all the possible reasons. My father-in-law was going to the hospital, something happened to my mom or dad. I told myself to relax. This has happened before. I worry and it turns out it's nothing. I grabbed my phone and with eyes still sleepy saw it was my sister. I was confused, but somewhat relieved. She probably just woke up when her husband had. He must have had some side job to get to and she didn't even realize it was insanely early for making phone calls. She's just going to ask me to bring something to the birthday party she's having later today for her two girls.
To be honest, the phone conversation is a bit of blur. I remember realizing she was upset, and stepping outside onto my porch for better reception, as my husband wandered sleepily out of the bedroom wanting to know who it was. And, I remember the words, "Kerry, it's a tumor." and, "this is the nightmare." She was referring to every parents worst nightmare. The thing you always talk yourself out of stressing about when you bring your baby to the doctor for a checkup. The thing you worry about, but somehow know, everything will be fine, because it does happen, but chances are, it won't happen to you.
|All following picture credits go to my sister|
I don't know if I got the whole story in that phone conversation, probably not. By the time I left the hospital late that Saturday night, I knew that the flu like symptoms my niece had been experiencing for a few days were caused by a tumor the size of an orange on her kidney. I knew that because of the tumor, fluid had built up in her abdomen and had been crushing her lungs and heart, and that she had almost died 2 or 3 times since being brought to the emergency room for dehydration Friday evening. And, I knew they were starting chemo that night.
It's been a roller coaster of good days and bad since that August morning. My niece, with my sister at her side, was in the hospital for one month, released the day after her 6th birthday. There are lots of friends and family coming together to help any way we can. We know that the tumor is a Wilms tumor, a cancer that has a good recovery rate. Treatment is going well and surgery is being scheduled to remove the tumor and the kidney.
If you'd like, you can read more about Abby's journey here. It's a page my sister's roller derby friends set up to help out. My sister has had to leave her job at a pediatrician's office. They own a small waste disposal company and she spends her days caring for Abby, her 3 other kids, and running the office side of the business. Although medical expenses for Abby's care are covered. There are many other expenses, as I'm sure you can imagine, so if you are moved to, donation can be made there and are deeply appreciated.
As I mentioned earlier, this has, of course, changed our lives as well. Everything from what I'm sewing and making to the way we are homeschooling this year. We have cousins here often, watching them whenever Abby goes to the hospital for treatments or transfusions. All of this will find it's way into my posts, and so I felt it important to bring my blog up to speed with the rest of my life.
I have started freshening up my Adobe skills and I will be talking about that in the next couple days. In fact, the class I'm taking is the push I needed to get this written and posted so that I can get back to blogging about homeschool, sewing, gardening and of course those many bits of Abby's journey that overlap my own. I won't regularly post about my sister's or niece's lives. As I said, that is their story to tell, but I won't leave you hanging either. I will post occasional updates on her progress. And, I will be putting a link in the sidebar to Abrielle's Fight Fund, so if you're wondering how it's going, you can check in there too.
I'm not exactly sure how to end a post like this so I'll just ask you to keep my niece and her family in your thoughts or prayers.