This month we are telling the story of 9 year old Brooke. Brooke and her family never thought they'd find themselves on our blog until just 3 short weeks ago, their lives changed forever. It breaks our hearts to introduce you to this family because we wish they didn't have to be here, but they are and they need our support and we know you will all help us give it to them!
Here is Brooke's story written by her mother, Michelle:
We are a family of 5. My husband Derek, Me (Michelle), our daughter Brooke is our oldest at 9, our son Rylan is 7 and our youngest daughter Violet is 3.
December 23rd is when the fever started. Just your average fever of about 102 and with two other sick kids at home we figured it was viral and would see its way out..the other two were getting better. So we just assumed she would too...
December 29th it’s been long enough with this crazy fever and Christmas is past so we go to the doctor. Doctor checks her for flu and strep she is negative for both but has some red eyes so the doctor treats her for pink eye and says the fever is viral. We go home and the fever keeps up so I take her to urgent care on December 31st. The doctor there tells us to continue the drops for the pink eye even though she didn’t see anything and says she has an ear infection which she believes to be a secondary infection due to the viral fever that she still believes to be the cause of the fevers. We go home with Augmentin for the ear infection and she takes it for 4 days. 3 of those days her fever drops to 100 but on the 4th day her fever goes up to 103.5. I’m worried sick at this point!! I mean how do you get a 103.5 fever when you are on antibiotics?? I was so scared and immediately took her back to the urgent care where we waited to be seen for over 2 hours. When we were finally seen the same doctor told me in a very condescending way that “her gut” told her it was viral still. We are now on day 12 of this fever….seriously?? Viral?? I was so mad! But what could I do? We went home yet again. 2 days later that fever spiked to 104.6. We were done! Emergency room here we come. They took immediate action. She had a chest x-ray, her blood and urine were both checked. Within the hour I was told that her white count was very high and that they wanted to transfer her to the Childrens Hospital in Nashville. Where I was told they would take more blood and run further tests. We had to make arrangements for our other two children so my husband left Brooke and I at the hospital while we waited to be discharged and he drove them to a friend’s house that lives close by.
After picking Brooke and I back up we headed to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville. Thankfully it’s only about 30 minutes away depending on traffic. When we got to the ER they were already waiting for us and they put a mask on Brooke and stuck us in a side room. I was sooooo naïve. I thought we were just sitting there because they new ahead of time that we were coming. When they took us into triage to check her vitals the chart is on a computer right in front of us and right at the top says ACUTE LEUKEMIA followed by all of my daughters information. WHAT??? How can that be right? No one said anything to us! They haven’t even run the further tests yet….what is going on???
I’m not quite sure what I said to the nurse at that point but it was somewhere along the lines of Why does the chart say Leukemia??? His first response was “the other hospital didn’t mention that?” WHAT????? That room was about 50 degrees hotter all of a sudden and I watched the color completely drain from my husband’s face. What is going on??? Is this really happening?? My daughter has CANCER?? And this is how I’m finding this out?? No wonder they stuck her in a room away from all of the germs of the ER. Everything was making sense now. So basically we were in the ER just waiting for a bed to open up on the floor where we would spend the next 17 days. While down in the ER they took more blood and “confirmed” the diagnosis. We were talked to about “the plan of treatment” and just had an over load of information that night. It was after midnight before we got into her room up on the 6th floor of the hospital. She was placed into the Mylosuppression unit. The next day we were told what form of Leukemia she has. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia also known as ALL. Her treatment will be very long, we are looking at having treatment for the next 2 ½ years. Brooke started Chemo on Wednesday January 9th and has been handling it pretty well considering. We were able to go home on January 23rd after 17 days and we were home for 2 days when she got another fever. Back to the hospital on January 25th. We are not quite sure how long this next visit will be. We have a pretty bumpy road ahead of us. To say that we are scared is an understatement! But I do believe my girl is strong and she’s going to fight!
(A little bit of a back story about our family. We are originally from McHenry Illinois and just recently moved to Tennessee 7 months ago. My husband’s company is transferring here so here we are. A fresh start for all of us!! Three years ago on July 15th 2009 we took a major blow when we found out that my husband Derek had head and neck cancer! He had to have a major surgery removing half of his tongue and moving an artery from his arm to his tongue to rebuild. It was a long recovery accompanied with Chemotherapy and Radiation. He was self employed and we ended up losing the company along with our home and vehicle. The medical bills were crippling!! But we are happy to report that he is 3 ½ years cancer free and we are rebuilding our lives here in Tennessee.)
We pray that we will get some relief from these new medical bills
and that our daughter will also be Cancer Free!!
Reading this brings back so many memories of Cami's diagnosis and it just breaks my heart! It is such a scary, unknown time. It is a time to grieve for your child, a time you have to watch them suffer and you;d do anything to take it away. My spine is tingling just thinking back on those days. We hope that you will leave kind comments, send your love, prayers, and donate if you can. We hate that this family is here, but now that they are lets wrap our arms around them and show them all the love and support we can.