Total Pageviews

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

What's the Reason?

I can't remember where I saw it this morning, probably Facebook, but I saw a post that said "something good always comes from bad. My first thought was to agree with that.  It falls along the lines of "Everything happens for a reason". Then I wondered for the millionth time what good could come from Ella getting Cancer.  Then I dismissed the thought and went back to my day.  Both kids were home sick today and have Strep Throat.  We had two doctor appointments scheduled and somehow I had to squeeze some work in there too.

Our first appointment was for Ella at the ENT.  I was just at this doctor a few weeks ago with Josh and he is now scheduled to have his tonsils removed. So, now it was Ella's turn to see if she was next.  When the doctor came in he asked Ella to hop up in the chair so he could look at her throat.  In her usual cute but shy manner, she looked and me and pushed in for security.  I helped her into the chair and explained to the doctor that she is a Cancer survivor and  every time we are at a doctor, it makes her nervous. He was good with her and she was happy that e was only looking- no pokes.  He asked me what kind of Cancer she had and how she was doing.  Then he asked something that not many people do- he asked how I was.  I gave the usual answer, but he kept talking about the hardship on the entire family. This dialog was something that came from someone with personal knowledge of this journey, so I asked him "Who do you know that has Cancer?". Turns out it is his son.  He has a throat Cancer and he diagnosed his own son.  It happened fairly recently.  We talked for 15 minutes or so about how it changes your family dynamics, and not just for the treatment period, but forever.  During our family trip to Florida for Thanksgiving I was listening to Josh and Ella play and Ella just started laughing.  I think ever adult in the room took pause and just listened for a second.  We all appreciated the fact that we still have the opportunity to enjoy her laughter.  When I left I asked for his sons name and told him I would pray for him.  His son is 30 and he said it didn't matter what age he was, he would always be his child.

So when I think about the reason Ella was diagnosed, I do not think I will ever really know in my lifetime.  But, I do know that it does give me a unique ability to be compassionate to others who will have to go through this journey.  In that sense I am now able to better equipt for serving others.

Ella has clinic this Thursday. I still get a little nervous, but I doubt that will go away- even when she is 30.


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!!!!!!

I am happy to report that the biopsy came back benign!  No cancer in this momma.
I can tell you that I certainly was sweating it out yesterday, but so very grateful when I got the call.

Thank you everyone for your prayers. It means so much to our entire family!!!!

All I can do it keep singing this in my head:
Happy Halloween everyone!


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Health Update

Thank you to everyone for your prayers.  I am so very grateful.

I had an additional test done to verify that the bumps in my uterus are fibroids.  For now we decided to leave the uterus alone.  Yesterday I had surgery to remove the mass.  It was located outside of my colon in the pelvis, so it is not colon cancer.  The surgeon felt positive about the mass being benign , so we are just waiting for the pathology report to confirm.

I will update as soon as I find out. For now I am resting at home with my family.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Ella 1 year off Chemo/Family Update

Originally, I wanted my very next post, to be our last.  Ella will officially be out of treatment for one year on October 28th!  She moves to bi-monthly appointments and her counts are back to normal.  All blessings.  All good things.  She is a happy, smart, sweet girl and I could not be prouder of her or Josh.

But, this may not be my last post.  You all know I am a that even a word?

A few days ago I started having sharp abdominal pains on my left side.  I went to urgent care one night because they were so sharp they were taking my breath away.  They did a pretty through exam and concluded that I must have diverticulitis. It was explained to me as a soft spot in my colon wall where food must have gotten lodged and now there is an infection.  He gave me some antibiotics and pain medication and I was ordered to see my GP the next day and to get a CT scan. So, bright and early I went to my doctor, who agreed with the Urgent Care Physician's diagnosis and I was sent for a CT scan.  Meanwhile the antibiotics they gave me were making me nauseous and I was not able to keep anything- even liquids down.  Also, the YUMMY 2 bottles of contrast they have you drink for the CT Scan did not help that.

On Thursday morning I called my doctor to get the CT Scan results and tell him I was not able to keep fluids down.  I suspected the antibiotics as the culprit. At first, the nurse said he did not have my CT results yet, then I told her I couldn't drink/eat and she put me on hold. My doctor came back on to let me know he did not have the full copy of the test, but the radiologist had called him and told him there was about a 1 inch mass in my colon. He said not to worry about taking the antibiotics, and he would call me later in the day with the full radiologists report.  This was at 10am, it is now 3:30pm.  That has given me over 5 hours to sit and contemplate what I will do if I have colon cancer.

So now it is Friday night.  I have spoken to my doctor and I have been referred to a surgeon to have a biopsy of the mass in my colon.  Mass seems like a big word for a less than 1 inch bump, so lets go with the lesser word they used- Nodule.  Okay Nodule doesn't seem right either- bulge, swelling, wad, okay lets just go with bump.  Along with this "Bump", I have a bunch more bumps in my "girl parts" that I have to go to my OB to have an ultra sound done. So, Monday I meet with the Surgeon and Tuesday with the OB.

So, I've been through this before.  If you have followed our story, you know that one of my best friends was diagnosed with Colon Cancer at age 38.  We walked down this road with her a year before Ella was diagnosed, so all of these terms and all of these procedures are way to familiar to me. I know how this goes, I know what comes next. This is not my first trip to the rodeo.

But, I'm okay. I'm not FrEaKiNg out- Yet.  My mind is pretty clear. I know it will be a "wait and see" for the next week or so and I can't change that. I'm okay because my friends don't suck (I have a great support team), and God's got my back.
"He has the wheel". This is a quote from my friend Leo who passed a few months ago from stage 4 Colon Cancer that spread through his body.  I went to see him before he passed and he told me he was fine with whatever happened because "God has the wheel", and he was right.  I remember looking at him smiling at me and hoping I could handle something that big just like he was.  I know it's not the same- I have No intention of being driven anywhere far right now, but it does help me to have a positive outlook.  Well, at least for today.

So, Sunday we are going to go Celebrate Ella.  Her strength, her joy, her strong will and her life.  I am so excited to see the joy in her face as she gets to go on roller coasters and enjoy her first time at Six Flags. I don't have to worry about anyone coughing around her or too many germs on everything.  I just get to look at my girl and smile because she is still here.

We will keep you posted.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

September 3rd, 2013

This was Ella exactly 1 year ago.  Hard to believe this is her today:

Head full of red curls and she always says"Mom, I LIKE my hair CrAzY!".  Still, I KNOW we are the lucky ones.  Ella completed treatment.  The anniversary of her diagnosis came and went this year and I didn't give it a second thought. Other parents, are not that lucky. I see them in the halls as we go for Ella's monthly check ups.  I see it in their eyes.  The tired smiles that are exchanged in the halls between patient rooms, with a glimmer of hope in each. I don't want any child to have to go through what my girl did.  So, this year, we walk.  CureSearch is the organization that designed and researched the treatments that are currently being used for Childhood Cancer.
I encourage you to walk with us if your local, or think about skipping your morning coffee and donating.  Every dollar helps.  This year I am on the committee for the Chicago walk and I will be the photographer again, so I will post photos.  Here is the link to Ella's page if your interested.  Feel free to share with your friends!  We walk this Saturday.  Thank you to everyone that has donated and can walk with us! We are truly blessed for your support!

Blessings~Katie and Ella!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


So, I believe this is the first time EVER, but I cancelled Ella's clinic appointment and re-scheduled it for almost 2 weeks later.  Ella attended a local Theater camp and I didn't want her to miss a day.  In the back of my mind, I kept waiting for the doctor to call me and yell at me for changing it, but they never did!  Then, they went to grandma and Grandpa's for a few days of spoiling and attention that I am so grateful they get! Seeing how much they love their grandparents often reminds me of how much I love mine, and often wish they were still here to talk to. I took this shot at a rest stop on the drive up to Wisconsin.
I also love how much these two love each other!

So, clinic went well.  Ella's counts are looking good.  She is looking good and we continue to pray and monitor every little  ache and pain she has.  For the most part, she is just such a happy kid!  This past weekend, we held a Kid Olympics in our backyard with a bunch of neighborhood kids and friends.
It was a big hit.  We had 10 events and included a 3-legged race with the adults and a mom vs. dad tug of war.  We ended the night with a movie in our backyard, popcorn, and lots of blinkie lights.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again- I love our friends!
Enjoy the rest of your summer! We are!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


It feels like a time of loss in my life.  In the sign wave of life, I feel like there are different sections of ups and downs.  This is a loss time for me.  Today I had to say good-bye to my cat Cole.  A 17 year companion for me.
I don't know if you are a cat person or a dog person, most people seem to choose a side, but Cole was as close to both as he could get.  When he was younger, he would bring me the string he liked to play with and drop it at my feet.  He knew the sound of my Jeep and he would always be waiting for me at the door when I got home.  He also had this keen sense that I was sad and whenever the tears were falling, he would be by my side.  But, he was still a cat at heart. Very independent and purred louder than an airplane!  Losing another part of our family is so difficult.  Death, is not my friend.  It makes me feel uncomfortable and my heart feels a little bit emptier.  I know that we should be a peace knowing that there is a better life than here, but it is hard.  Faith, at times, can be a hard thing.  I like to believe that both Kailee (our dog that passed in October 2012) and Cole are in God's Animal Kingdom.  I hope that right now Kailee is trying to play with Cole and Cole is telling him to back off.

Ella had clinic on Tuesday.  It was a long clinic because things were not going well on the floor- which usually means kids are getting sicker or kids are not making it. When Ella's doctor came in she had a smile on her face, but I could tell that the smile on her heart had been wiped away.  This is why, this is why WE NEED A CURE!  Please, please consider walking with us, or supporting Ella in her fund raising efforts this year.  Our team name is:  Kiddos Kickin’ Cancer – RMCH.  Ella's Personal Page is: Ella Grace- Cure Search.  We have only raised $20,000 and we are trying to raise $300,000.  Kids are not treated the same as adults.  Every fundraiser I hear is for adult cancers.  Even the Relay for Life- less than 5% of the funds raised go towards Childhood Cancers.  CureSearch is the only local walk for the kids. Please consider this very family friendly walk, and maybe we can help there be less bad days on the children's floor of the hospital.




I would just like to add that I think Relay for Life/American Cancer Society does a wonderful job.  My family and friends walk this walk each year in support of Ella's Aunt Carrie and Ella.  My comments were only to support Cure Search and Ella and not to minimize the Relay for Life/ACS. I have updated my link to show The Relay's most current data. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The normal.

HI.  Sorry for the delay in my now monthly posts!

Ella had clinic last Tuesday.  It is a different feeling for me to go knowing that she is not having chemo.  It was unusually quiet and we had some time to chat with the nurses and Ella's favorite volunteer- The Craft Lady.  She had some extra bruises on her legs, so I was a little concerned, but all is well and they are just normal every day "I'm a kid that plays" bruises.  Ella has been off of treatment for 8 months and her counts are officially back to NORMAL!  No more looking at her count sheet to see red exclamation points or the words Low or High.  Just nice black letters that say everything is in the normal range.
Ella playing with her cousin Sara.

But, what is our normal range?  Our new family "Normal" is different.  I think we have spent so much time the past few years keeping ourselves "Normal" and "Busy", that now we really have to stop, take a deep breath and figure out what this new normal will look like.  For me, I think I have been trying so hard to keep myself busy and therefore a little numb that I'm not sure what our normal is.

When Ella was diagnosed my doctor suggested a low dose anxiety/depression medication for me.  Knowing what I was about to watch my child go through, his suggestion was made to help me cope.  I also suffered with Postpartum Depression after I gave birth to both my kids, so I had a history.  Anyway, I didn't want to do it because in my eyes, that made me weak.  I needed to be strong and prove that I was strong.  But, who am I trying to prove this to and why do I care? I realized that I am a little too concerned with what others might think about me.  It is each persons decision, but I did take that prescription.  I think it kept my emotions more even during the process, but I think it numbed me a little to the normal.  Normal life does have highs and lows.  It is not all middle ground.  It is not all everything is fine.  I will have times of great strength, like signing the paperwork to add Ella to the National Cancer Registry or giving her chemo as I brush the hair off her pillow that fell out overnight.  But, I think in order to grow, we must also go through times of great weakness.  I will fail as a mom and yell at my kids for not focusing in the morning before school, I will let down a friend and hurt their feelings, I will forget to appreciate my husband, I will eat Oreo's at 9pm even though I know It's so bad for me.  Sometime the weakness makes us stronger, and sometimes it just confirms- hey, I'm human- I'm just normal.

So, I am trying to un-busy myself.  I decided to pass on the trip to Haiti this year, lessen my outside commitments, and I am going to focus this summer on enjoying a normal life with my kids.  Making some plans, but I don't want to be busy. I just want us to find a new normal.

Enjoy your summer everyone.
Ella and Sara- our two ginger girls.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Ella's Birthday

Ella 7 years old

To say birthdays are important in our home would be an understatement.  We have learned through this journey to be grateful for every second that has been gifted to us, and this week Ella turned 7!

This is not to say that my kids don't get in trouble and no one raises their voices in this house, but it is to say that when I hear my children laughing and playing together like only siblings can, I stop and thank God for that moment and pray that is can last forever.

This year we went simple and had a few of Ella's girlfriends overnight.  They were all very well behaved and had a blast.  She has such an awesome group of girls that she just loves.  I am so very thankful that she has these bonds.  Even at school, when I dropped her off with her special birthday snack, she got teary eyed when I had to leave.  Immediately 4 little girls came over, put their arms around her and comforted her. So very amazing.  I do not remember having girlfriends like that in 1st grade.

So, Happy 7th Birthday to my amazing, strong, beautiful, encouraging and HEALTHY Ella.  We love you so much.

Josh took this one of us.
Ella's counts have been good and she has been healthy- best gift ever.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Clinic Visit for April

Ella was in a really great mood on Tuesday.  She was being goofy for everyone- even the Doctor she had never met that did her initial vitals.  We were in and out and it was an easy day at clinic.  Her counts are looking better each time we go and she is moving in the right direction!

Aunt Carrie joined us for clinic, and right after we celebrated her 3 YEARS of Carrie being done with chemo!!!!  I took our little Cancer Butt Kickers to The Cheesecake Factory for some lunch and we went to Build A Bear to get what is hopefully Ella's last bear for a while.  She has around 50, and I seriously am out of room to put these!

In the past 2 weeks, our hospital alone has lost 3 kids to cancer.  I can not even begin to tell you how much this saddens my heart. The grief that the parents, family, doctors, nurses, and everyone involved must be feeling just brings me to tears.  The fact that Cancer has beaten not 1, but 3 more children just angers me.  I feel like there is so much attention to adult cancers, but no one wants to hear about Childhood Cancers- it's just too painful.  And that is true- It IS painful!  So, help us kick it's butt!  think about supporting Cure Search which helps to raise funds to cure and support children with cancer.



Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Child Life

Hi All!
Ella is doing well.  I just wanted to share an article that was published by Cure Search this week featuring Megan- Ella's Child Life Specialist.  You may remember that Megan made sure Ella had a Christmas Tree in her hospital room when she was admitted on Christmas Eve, and when I could not go past the magic line when Ella had surgery, Megan jumped into the gurney and rode with her.

Ella and Megan

Cure Search is dedicated only to funding Childhood Cancers.  It is a great organization and Steve and I have been their photographers the past two years.  This year I am on the committee for the 2013 walk.  It is in September and it is very family friendly.  When our team registration is ready I will put up the link, but in the meantime, please think about walking with us or donating this year!

Thanks so much.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Today Ella had clinic.  It was just a monthly visit where they check her counts, feel around, take her vitals and declare she is doing well and getting one month closer to "normal".  Today when we went in, Ella had a slight fever- 99.1.  The nurse asked if I took her temp before I left the house.  This rush of panic went through me.  I felt scared.  Like I had been missing something this past month.  Should I have been taking her temperature as often as I was when she was on chemo? What else did I miss? She has been complaining of back pain again, is the cancer back?  Crap.

Okay, I took a deep breath and we went into the exam room to wait for the doctor to examine Ella.  She did fine and the Dr. asked  how we were doing made some small talk, then asked if Steve and I had planned our trip to Italy yet.  I said no, she asked why.  Ella was still on the table so I was able to turn but I started crying.  I don't even know where the tears came from, they just started pooling in my eyes. I told her I just couldn't leave because I am still worried that something will happen to Ella if I leave the country.  Ahhhg.  How can I still feel this scared?  She has been off of treatment for almost 5 months, yet as her doctor was feeling the lymphoid on her neck, all I could think is that they were enlarged and she was going to turn and look at me with a concerned face and tell me she needs to run more tests.  But, she didn't.  She just kept making chit chat and taking to Ella about how much she has grown.

Seriously, when will this feeling go away?  When I stop looking at her wondering if every little ailment means something more serious is wrong. I hate feeling this way. I wish it would stop.

Ella is bummed, her ears closed up after two days without earnings.  So she will have to have them re-pierced in a few weeks.  Her cast is off and in another week she will be able to return to gymnastics class.
Ella's in here somewhere!
Last week we got lucky and had a snow storm which meant.....SNOW DAY!!!!! Friends came over and we went sledding at the side of the house and built an igloo.  Everyone had fun, it was awesome to hear the kids laughing. Afterwards we gathered in the garage for hot coco and mustache shaped cookies.  These are the days and the times I treasure.  It was a gift.  An extra day where I could listen to Josh and Ella playing together in the basement- just laughing and hanging out in their PJ's all day until I made them get dressed to go sledding.

Enjoy every unexpected minute you get with your loved ones.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day!

Just a picture of my adorable little Valentine!
Happy Valentine's Day everyone!


Monday, February 11, 2013

Charles Tillman/Ella Article

Charles Tillman's TendHER Heat Luncheon is a yearly event hosted for mothers and caregivers of seriously ill children.  I was honored to speak in 2011 and 2012.  They recently asked me to be interviewed regarding my experience at the luncheon.
Thought you might all enjoy the article.

TendHER Heart-Tillman Foundation

Ella has her monthly clinic check-up tomorrow.  Now, she just likes that she gets to miss a day of school! Two weeks and two days left in her cast.  She is handling it like a pro now, except I did get whacked in the head with it while trying to snuggle with her one night.  Man those things hurt!  She could not stop laughing.  I am really looking forward to the kids being off for Spring Break. I miss them when they are at school.  We had a decent snow fall last week and I already had a snow day planned out in case they were able to stay home, but no snow day for us.  So we moved my big plans to Saturday. we pushed all the couches in the family room together in the family room.  Brought down a few goose-down comforters and pillows from our beds and cuddled in for a movie.  We also made Belgium Waffles with whipped cream for breakfast and built a volcano that we had planned to erupt on Sunday, but the weather turned to icy rain and changed our plans.  Counting down till their next day off in March!

Thanks so much!  Please Join us so you can keep in touch with us through the rest of Ella's journey!


Thursday, January 31, 2013

Clinic with a friend

Ella and Kennedy
Ella went to clinic on Wednesday, but this time it was not for her counts, but she went to support her friend Kennedy!  I love this shot of the two of them.  Thanks to cancer, they both have the same haircut, and they look like twins with their short curly hair. They had a fun morning together playing on Kennedy's tablet and when we were done at clinic Kennedy picked PF Changs for lunch.

It was interesting being at clinic and looking at things from a different prospective.  I've been there a hundred times, but it was always my child having a procedure or blood draw.  This time I had more of an opportunity to look around and listen.

About three months ago Ella and I met a little girl in clinic.  Lets call her "Sophie".  She was about three years old and the most inquisitive child. She walked right into our room and started watching everything that Ella was doing.  This is very unusual behavior in clinic.  Most people stay in their little clinic room out of fear of spreading germs to another child, but this little one opened our door and walked right in with a big smile.  Her mom spoke to her in a different language, but you could tell Sophie had no intention of leaving her new friends room.  I assumed this little girl was a sibling of a child in treatment. She playfully peaked in and out of our room full of smiles and giggles until it was Ella's turn to be seen by the doctor. Then she went off to find another room to peek into.  I had not given a second thought to this playful child until I saw her at clinic on Wednesday.  I took me all day to recognize who she was.  It woke me up last night in tears.  Same smile, same height, but 3/4th of her hair was missing.  It was not a sibling in treatment, it was Sophie.  It had never even crossed my mind that she was the child with cancer because she was so happy.  Giggling in our room, watching Ella and just smiling.  How could I not have seen that she was in treatment? I truly believe it was her innocence and joy that kept me from seeing it.  Children has this incredibly envious ability to live in the moment.  As adults we spend so much time stressing out about our futures and our families future.  When I met her, she wasn't a cancer child, she was just a happy child, living in the moment, looking for a new friend. I have to say I envy her. Even in clinic this week, she was smiling and standing at the Art Cart and trying to find a game or craft that would pass the time.  I didn't see cancer in her face.  If her hair had not been missing- I would not have known at all.  I wish I had that ability. I have to work on that.

If you enjoy keeping up with us, would you please take a moment and sign up to follow our blog!  We would really appreciate it!


Thursday, January 24, 2013

More Normal Kid Stuff!

Well, I wanted "normal" for Ella, and we got it.  Ella broke her wrist this week at Tumbling class.  She didn't even make it into class, she fell on the bleachers while waiting for class to begin.
She is pretty mad that she has to have a cast, so to try to make it better, we sprinkled glitter on it as it was drying to "Bling" it up a bit for her.  Plus she got to pick her favorite color- Purple.
5 weeks in the cast and she will be good as new!


Monday, January 21, 2013

Normal Kid Stuff! Saturday January 19th, 2013

Earrings Picked Out!

Wanted to sit on Momma's Lap, but she doesn't look nervous to me!

Ears before.....

Ears after!
Ella got to do a normal girl thing Saturday- she got her ears pierced!  She had it on her"list of things I want to do when I'm done with cancer", so she finally got the okay this past Tuesday at clinic from Dr.S to get it done.  Her counts were good and her liver function is almost normal again! Praise God for that.  She was so excited.  She did not even flinch when the Dr. pierced her ears, and she did them one at a time.  She picked purple earrings, of course, and she is so very happy.

It is so great to be able to let Ella do something like get her ears pierced.  I still have a little worry bug in the back of my head wondering if it is really okay, will they get infected, what if her counts drop, but this is all stuff that can happen with ANY child.  Da Da freaked out a little bit because he wasn't ready for her to grow up any more, which I can totally understand, but she was definitely ready for this step. She is so happy about having pierced ears.

I'm going to brag about her a little now- so beware.  One of the side effects of chemo is educational drawbacks.  I have always been concerned that she would start to slow down with her learning and she would be behind.  Well, she isn't.  Her school takes a MAP test 3 times a year to see how the kids are advancing in Math, Science and Language Arts.  Ella scored so well on the Language Arts portion that they sent her to the 2nd grade class to take it at their level, and she blew that one away too! So all I could think was- TAKE THAT  AND STICK IT IN YOUR PIPE CANCER!  My girl is smart and you can't have any of her brain cells (insert my tongue sticking out at cancer here). I also talked to her teacher about her social behavior in class and she said she is very social (unlike when she is with me). I was so glad to hear this, just makes my little heart happy!

Just took another deep breath.


Friday, January 4, 2013


Ever have one of those dreams that seems so real that you wake up and for the first few seconds you have to shake you head and think "Did that really happen"?  I had one of those last night.  Although I think this qualifies as more of a nightmare than a dream.

I know where it came from.  I think I saw the same commercial yesterday at least 5 times that asked the question "What would you do if you were told your child had cancer?".  I love that they are trying to make people aware that these little warriors suffer too, but I hate being reminded over and over that I have been that parent and I have heard those words, but, I digress.  Also one of my friends noticed how thin Ella is now.  She is completely off steroids so she had totally lost her protruding belly and also she grows 1/4-1/2" each month it seems.  She now wears the same size pants her 9 year old brother does.  When she made the comment, I told her how much it worries me that she is so thin.  When Ella was 1st diagnosed she had gotten really thin.  Her head looked too big for her body.  These two things followed by a commercial for a horror movie that is about to be released made my nightmare seem so real.

Steve and I were in our home, but it wasn't the home we live in now, it was different.  Ella was at a friends house spending the night.  We got a call from the girl's mom that Ella died in the middle of the night.  The mom was apologizing over and over, but no tears.  No one was crying. I didn't get to see her.  She went right to the hospital.  Ella's oncologist came to our house and told us "This just happens sometimes." For some reason, in this dream her oncologist came to the house with her daughter.  Steve started offering her Ella's Build A Bears saying that we needed to get her room cleared out anyway.  I remember feeling really bewildered.  Like I just could not understand why this had happened.  It felt sudden and out of the blue. I was crying and asking why, but no one would answer me.  They just kept saying "I don't know, it just happens.".  I felt like I was standing still, but everyone else was moving in a circular pattern around me- like they were going on with their lives and my feet were stuck in one place and all I could get out of my mouth was the word "Why?".  Then I saw Ella lying in the fetal position on a bed.  Her hair was longer than it is now- more like it was when she was first diagnosed with ALL. She wasn't moving, just lying there.  Then I woke up.

Fear sucks. You can push it away during the day, but it will find you at night. You can tell yourself it is okay.  Everyone asks "Aren't you glad it's over"? You can smile and say yes, because it is easier than explaining that it's not really ever "over". As soon as I woke up, I went into Ella's room, felt her head and climbed into bed with her.  Why did I feel her head? Because it is my natural reaction to make sure she is doing well. Always checking for a fever. It's was my only indication that anything was ever wrong.

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” 
― C.S. LewisA Grief Observed

I think I am still grieving the loss of Ella's innocence.  I get lulled into a false sense of "she won't remember this", and then she will say something about needles, or hair loss and I think- will she ever forget?  Maybe my grieving and fear are merged into one and I fear this will happen again, or that she won't be able to have children, or that she will have development delays. Maybe this is why they feel like the same thing.  And it is not just Ella I fear for.  My dad who had stage 4 skin cancer had refused to go in for his final scans, until I called him to let him know that Ella's came back as cancer free. He called me and told me SHE inspired HIM to go get checked.  He has beaten the odds.  They told him he wouldn't make it past two years, and he has.  I also fear for my friend who was told she has an 85% chance of getting a few different types of cancer within 5 years of finishing her treatment.  She is almost at 3 years.  Deuteronomy 31:6 states: Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your GOD goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you."  Why is it so hard to turn our fear over to God and let him handle it? Oh how I wish I had the strength to do this during the day, and at night.  I will leave you with this song from Sara McLachlan- Fear.