Thank goodness my mom was visiting to help out while Pete was gone. She had our older daughter, Kaiya who was 4 at the time, at home with her and was waiting for a phone call to see how Luca was doing. Now, the second hardest phone call I have ever made.
The next thing we know, we are on our way by ambulance to Children's Hospital of Colorado. I asked my mom to stay at home with Kaiya. I knew we would be bombarded with Dr's, nurses, and all kinds of medical staff. The rest of that day was like an out of body experience. I used to work in a Children's ER, so I was somewhat familiar with what they were saying. I just couldn't believe it was happening to us. Luca was 2, just 5 weeks from turning 3. She's still my baby and seemed perfectly healthy! How could I not know she was sick? What did I do wrong for this to happen? A million thoughts are running through my head and I just want to wake up from this horrible nightmare. I am starting to realize that we are now part of a group that we NEVER asked/wanted to join.
Surgery was scheduled for 8:00 the next morning to put in a port, do a bone marrow aspiration, and inject chemo directly into her spine. I gave Luca big hugs and kisses, told her she would be fine, I love you and will see you when you wake up. Just as I was walking out, my mom and Kaiya are there waiting. That was the best medicine ever! Shortly after, my dad arrived on the first flight out from Detroit. We anxiously waited for surgery to end. It all went well and Luca was still my super happy little girl. Again, how can she be sick?? Meanwhile, Pete is still trying to make his way home from Australia. After 30 hrs of crazy thoughts running through his head and numerous flights, he finally made it to us! That was the hug I had been waiting for!
After meeting with the Doctors and Oncology team, we know for sure that Luca has ALL(acute lymphoblastic leukemia). What we are waiting on now is to see if she has high risk ALL. Unfortunately, the test results came back that she had a chromosomal abnormality, which happens in 2% of the kids. She will need twice the chemo of a standard risk child and the cure rate has significantly gone down. Not the news we wanted to hear, but they told us there is a very good chance she will be cured.
And so our journey begins. It is finally sinking in that Luca has cancer. Life now consists of clinic visits, spinal taps, blood transfusions, procedures, chemo, tons of medicine, and many long hospital stays in isolation. I think Pete and Kaiya had it the hardest. They still had work and school, all while worrying and missing us. Thank goodness for family who flew out to help and all of our wonderful friends who turn into family. Luca was always in good spirits and when she wasn't in isolation, she pretty much ran the place. We would find fun in all kinds of ways. Luca's smile and amazing strength got us through each day, along with the wonderful hospital staff and incredible families we met along the way.
After 10 hard core months of chemo, Luca started maintenance. This was a big milestone - less chemo, fewer hospital stays, and a lot more living to do. We finally started to get back to "the new normal". On June 19, 2015, Luca had her last dose of chemo and has been cancer free ever since. We are so incredibly fortunate for all of the kindness we have been shown. Being part of a group like this makes you see life in a whole new way and appreciate each and every day.
Thank you for supporting St. Baldricks and helping kids like Luca. Without your support, none of this is possible.