Honored Kid

Scarlett M.

Age 12
Scarlett M. Kid Photo

Location

Middle River, MD, US

Diagnosis

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML)

Date of Diagnosis

July 2011

Status

In remission

Treated At

Johns Hopkins Children's Center

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My Story

Scarlett is a beautiful, bright blue-eyed little girl filled with a spunk and passion for life far beyond her 10 years of age. During routine bloodwork at her 2 year checkup, abnormal cells were found which led us immediately to Johns Hopkins for further examination. Within 4 days of that pediatrician visit, the normalcy and innocence of Scarlett's childhood came to an abrupt halt. She was immediately admitted to the JH Childrens Center to begin numerous invasive surgeries, pokes/prods, scans, tests, feeding tubes, chemotherapy drugs and medicines of every color. She was no stranger to life-threatening infections and we lived on edge more days than we can count. We were blessed that after the 1st month of chemotherapy, her Leukemia was 'undetectable' and they would be able to proceed with chemotherapy treatments alone. At this point, she was going to be able to avoid going through a bone marrow transplant which could significantly decrease her chances of survival. If the cancer cells returned at any point during treatment (or even today), she would have to then endure the transplant. Through her 5 month stay at JHH battling AML M7, she perservered through intense chemotherapy treatments and monstrous side effects, but she never failed to win the hearts of the nurses, doctors, families that surrounded her with her silly, comedic antics and mature, quick wit. She loved playing nurse and on days when she felt well enough she would spend hours on end in the nurses station entertaining the staff and brightening their day. She quickly became known as the JH Pediatric Oncology 'mascot'. We had more scary, heart-stopping moments than we care to remember, but she continued to amaze us with her will to fight and her infectious spirit. She showed us what the true meaning of courage and strength really is and forever changed our lives and the lives of countless others along the way. Just before Christmas of 2011, Scarlett finished her treatments and was able to move back home to celebrate with her family, including big brother, Gavin (now 12). She is currently in remission and now just goes to outpatient clinic for regular precautionary blood draws and assessments. As parents, it is very hard not to live in constant fear that she will relapse and need to endure a bone marrow transplant, but we are working hard every day to not let that fear overshadow the 2nd chance at life that God so graciously bestowed upon her/us. There have been a few scares over the years when we thought relapse could be lurking...aches in her legs/feet, unexplainable bruising on her back, loss of pigmentation in her skin which could mean a drop in a certain blood count, terrible migraines...however, she was fortunately being carried by our prayers to Our Heavenly Father and He has kept her healthy. She is currently loving 5th Grade at her new school, making lots of new friends, singing and dancing endlessly (much to her brother's annoyance) and adding a level of joy (and drama!) to our home that we could not imagine living without. It took a long time during/after being sick before she could start to spend time with her little friends as she had prior to diagnosis and it is still such a joy to watch her being given the chance to interact normally again with other children. She (sadly) matured a great deal throughout her ordeal and we forget that we are speaking to a 10 1/2 year old at times...she is such an old soul now trapped in such a tiny little body. These last 8 years of being home and in remission has made us happy beyond comprehension. She dotes on her 6 yr old baby brother, Brayden, and her 2 furry siblings, Tye & Snowflake. Our lives are full and happy and we could not imagine it any other way. She excels and LOVES being in school and with her friends. It is still so exciting to see her healthy appetite return after those endless months of only being able to eat through a feeding tube. Pizza is still the favorite, so even chemo couldn't kill her love for that! She enjoys summer, boating, swimming and playing in the warm sunshine more than ever. We make sure that we never squander a moment, always remembering how it felt to be trapped in hospital walls that whole fateful summer. Sharing the magic of the Christmas season together is even more exciting than ever too. We all continue to look forward to the upcoming months/years and no matter how hectic they will be (it's a given!), we never lose sight that each day we are given with Scarlett and each other is a blessing never to be taken for granted. God Bless His Children...

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