January 30, 2007. Hannah's date of diagnosis, 2 years ago today. I went back and looked at what I wrote last year on this date, after only 1 year. It was like being there again, living it again. I remember:
1:30pm-Dr. Mercier calls "they found something, go get her now, are you OK?"
4:00pm-Dr. Egnor shows us Hannah's tumor on the computer screen, and all that white stuff on top of the brain-hydrocephalus, not good. Hannah sat there innocently on the exam table, long hair, big brown eyes, Dave and I were looking at the computer screen and hearing the words "tumor" from the neurosurgeon. "She needs surgery, and she needs it right away," is what we were told. "It's probably cancer," is what we were told. I was crying, Dave had his stressed out look on his face, and Hannah was quiet. When Dave asked Dr. Egnor to step out into the hall I remember being so mad that he would discuss this without me, but I came to realize he wanted to talk without Hannah hearing.
Later-I don't know what time we got home but Diane and Tom Graeb brought Colby back to our house, and we stood downstairs and talked and cried with them. Colby and Hannah still didn't know because we really didn't know. Mary called and offered her support, a cancer survivor, that helped a lot. After researching that night we decided to put our trust into Dr. Egnor, a doctor we had just met and only spent about 1/2 hour with. He was going to cut into our daughter's brain and save her life.
January 31, 2007. We check into the ER at Stony Brook hospital. Hannah is put on IV steroids to try and reduce the amount of fluid on her brain. For two days we sit in the Pediatric ICU at Stony Brook with Hannah crying and very upset about the IV in her arm. We wait.
February 2, 2007. Hannah has brain surgery. 6 long hours of waiting and then Dr. Egnor comes out to tell us (in the waiting room full of people) that the surgery went great, and it was most likely desmoplastic medulloblastoma, but we would have to wait a few days for the pathology to confirm. IT WAS CANCER. He was almost correct, it turned out that is was standard risk medulloblastoma, and he took out 100%.
I could go on and on, but the rest as they say, is history and it's all documented here. Sometimes my memory fails, but I can remember almost every detail of the last 2 years. Cancer just sucks, is there any other way to say it? And pediatric cancer, it just seems to add another bad dimension to cancer, striking down the young and innocent. But...
I have learned and grown more in the past two years than I ever thought possible. Our family has bonded, our family has changed and our family has grown more than I ever thought possible. Along with all the evils that cancer has brought into our lives, it has brought just as many positives. It has brought
compassion and caring
a new perspective
a new appreciation
a new focus
Another cancer mother said to me once "in the deck of cancer cards, we drew the lucky card." Our treatment was successful, our complications are minimal (well sometimes) and most importantly, Hannah is still alive. Are we lucky? I don't know, sometimes yes and sometimes no. I know that Hannah is still alive. Are things perfect, are things like they were before? NO, they are not. But, whose life is perfect? No-one I know!
My hope for our future is that continue to try and make a difference in the lives of other children afflicted with cancer. Our perspective on life, and pretty much everything, has changed. I think it's changed for the better. We know now that we live every day like we may not be here tomorrow. Do we always accomplish that? No, but we are more cognizant. We will continue our fight, and the fight against pediatric cancer. One day at a time.