One long year ago we posted the news that Ainsley Jane Maciula Peters did in fact have Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. We had been in the hospital for two days and the blood tests confirmed that she was battling cancer. We sat outside in the hospital play area and cried. We prayed that God would let her live. We prayed that we could find strength to get through this. We prayed that finances wouldn't be an issue. We prayed that we could hold it together to get through the tough parts.
I remember going to the doctor the first time. When she first saw the bruises on Ainsley's legs I thought to myself, maybe she thinks I beat my child. I never even worried about the bruises because we played outside all the time and my kids are adventurous kids. We also believe in Gentle Parenting so we don't spank or hit our kids, we discuss options, remove them from the situation or go with them to a time out thinking time spot to calm down during disagreements. A week after our appointment as Ainsley's health was declining we ended up in the ER. They had to drill into her shin to give her fluids after trying three different veins in her arms and getting no results. She was awake and terrified.
They had to catheterize her while she was awake. Throughout this time I calmly told her what was going on, I introduced every one by using their name tag. "This is Nurse So-and-so she went to school for a very long time she is going to put a tube in your urethra to help you pee, it is going to feel very uncomfortable, it might hurt and I am right here, you are safe".
Inside I was freaking out. Not only did they not know she had leukemia yet but she was so sick because she had every virus known to man due to no working white blood cells.
They put her to sleep after we kissed her and told her how much we loved her. They loaded her on a gurney and we decided that Chris would ride with her, then they said they needed another nurse so we both should drive while they flew her to Oklahoma City.
When we arrived we went through every detail. Every medication given. Then Dr. Henry told us she thought she had leukemia.
We knew that we couldn't do Gerson Therapy in Mexico with leukemia. We had to go conventional. And so we did.
Things in the hospital were hell. If I ever have to go to hell, it will be in an intensive care unit watching someone I love on the brink of death.
I never gave in to any doubts. I knew that she could do this. But I was scared shitless. I watched her blood pressure get lower and lower. I watched her kidneys fail. I watched as they added drug after drug to fight off infections. Her little body was swelling to a point of her skin ripping. They installed a dialysis line in her neck. Two tubes coming out of her vein. One took the blood the other put it back in. The machines broke and stalled and then finally worked. We played this Reiki Healing CD the entire time, 24 hours a day for over a month. We slept in her room almost all the time, we tried to never leave her alone. Every four hours she had respiratory therapy. She would wince in pain so we would talk to her even in a coma.
I sang Feed the Birds, Baby Mine, Sleep my Baby and You are my Sunshine a thousand times. I would tell her all the time that she was safe, she is loved, she is perfect. I would tell her to fight. I would tell her to beat this. I would tell her how proud of her I am. I also would tell her how very sorry I was.
I wouldn't break down very often in front of people but occasionally I did. Mainly, I had to stay focused on the next task. Viruses being gone, dialysis done, kidneys working, blood pressure stabilized, chemotherapy started, breathing tube out, feeding tube out, trying to walk, trying to talk, wanting to go to the bathroom again, living.
There was a time in January where she discussed her hair falling out and how sick she was. She told me that I would be fine with one child and she could die. I told her that I needed her to fight, I told her that she was going to beat this cancer and that God needed her on earth to help other kids with cancer. I told her I would keep shaving my head and be bald along side her so that she never felt alone. She agreed that she could fight and stay strong as long as I did too. And so I did.
And now here we are. ONE YEAR LATER.
We still have a year and a half to go. But for now we don't have to deal with hell. Just little tidbits of tantrums and anxiety. And for that, I am grateful.