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Starla’s Story

On September 13, 2011, Starla was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. This page will serve as a connection to family, friends, and others who may be going through similar fights.

A lot of people wonder, were there signs, how did you know to take her to the hospital. Well, there were signs, but there were signs that most
 people would have overlooked. Less than a month ago Starla started K-2, this was her first time not being in my care as I was a stay at home momsince she turned 1, I was nervous, but I know that we had picked a GREAT school for her, and that she would love the interaction with others her age. A week after school started I noticed a bruise on her arm(itmimicked that of an ant bite, but there was something underneath it). I asked her teacher to notify me if Starla hurt herself at play or if she
 and the other kids get into a little quarrel, she assured me that she
 would, and I knew that I could trust them to do just that. as that same> week went on, I noticed little marks on her legs, but those werent as bad as the one on her arm. My mother had given me a Home Remedies book for Kids when Starla was first born,
 that i'd somehow manage to keep up with in between all of the moving we'd done. One night I grabbed it from the book shelf to look up bruising...it read "kids are subject to bruises, because they may play rough with each other and not say anything, we may never know where the bruises occured, continue to monitor the bruising, and if they do not disappear in a matter of days, please consult you childs pediatrician, as bruising WITHOUT cause is usually a sign of leukemia...." It stirred me for a few days, but the bruising began to go away..."Whew, I thought, that wouldhave been scary." The following week, the teachers at her school informed me that Starla wasn't her usual active self, she was sleepy all day atschool, and she didnt have much of an appetite. I didn't get worried because she's a kid, and they do that right? That same Friday wasgrandparents day at her preschool and after the program Starla begged to go home with her 'Nanny.' on the way to
  the car, she broke out into what I thought was a tantrum, but later found that it was far from one. "My legs are hurting me and I wanna go to sleep!!!!" She kept yelling over and over again. Something in the pit of
 my stomach told me that this is Not good. She stayed the night with Nannythat night, and returned home the following day, only to have another leg episode...this time it was Far worse, to the point of almost her blacking out...so straight to the E.R. we went. They ran a multitude of tests,from x-rays to blood work, all the while I knew, something isnt right!!!! They asked the same questions over and over again it seemed "Do you have a family history of sickle cell??? A family history of childhood cancer???" I just wanted to yell out "Why!?! What are you trying to tell us?" After all of the testing, they informed us that her platelette count was dangerously low, and that she needed to be sent by ambulance to the nearest womens and
  childrens hospital for more testing. What a long night ahead. We got there only to get asked the same questions that made me literally sick at this point, but dont panick they assured us, it could be a number of
things causing her low platelettes....I calmed down, but only a little.
 The next day we learned that her counts had dropped even lower, and in order to rule out anything SERIOUS, they would do a particular procedure that would raise her platelette count. My husband and I were so relieved, and began making plans to leave the hospital....but there were other plans. The doctor came in and informed us that the procedure didntwork at all, not only did it not work, but he is now worried about her having leukemia........I died inside!!!!! How could this be? LEUKEMIA!?!?! not our baby. He imediately wanted to do a bone marrow sample to either confirm and exclude the diagnosis....later that day hetook us to a room and broke the news that rocked our
 world, not only was it leukemia, but it was a rare form..AML, the chances of you getting it were the same as standing outside and being hit by lightening. We are on this journey with God leading us. Prayer,
 encouragement, and family are what is getting us through day by day. The day before she went foer her first chemo treatment she told us to 'Just trust', and thats exactly what we are doing!!!!

Latest Journal Update

The end of the Year!

Wow, unbelievable...we are near the end of yet ANOTHER year. I must say that I stand in complete amazement at how quickly the time has passed by! Starla is now 6 years old, and it has been 3 years since we were introduced to the dreaded 'C' word! We praise God for how far we've come. We now visit the oncologist every 6 months for blood/lab work, and we visit the cardiologist now every other month because he has started weaning Starla from her heart medications since our last appointment!!! This has been a fun filled year for us, from beginning to end, so many amazing opportunities were awarded to us, and I know that God has a major plan for our lives because after 3 years He continues to use this journey for His glory. 
As I sit here watching the kids play around, my mind can't help but to venture to where we were this time 3 years ago. We were on our 2nd day of staying in the PICU as a result of Starla's decrease in heart functioning, unaware of how horrible things were about to become in the next few days for us, again, a reminder of just how faithful our Father has been to us.
For every child that is diagnosed, For every child that relapses, For every child that is lost, my heart breaks and there is this feeling in the pit of my stomach as we hold fast to our faith and pray for each family who embarks on this path that NO family should have to endure.
I can only pray that 2015 brings continued health to our girl, and that God continues to use this story for his glory; that we are able to serve as ministers to those who walk this uncertain path and offer them hope.
Starla is loving kindergarten, and is the best big sister ever to her little brother. 
Some neat things that have taken place in 2014 for our family:
-Grand Marshal (Order of Isis Mardi Gras)
-Children's Miracle Network Champion for Alabama
-Met Jamie Grace and she sang a song specially written for Starla
-Update to ESPN interview aired during ESPY awards
-Flower Girl in AJ's wedding
-Started Kindergarten
-Met the First Lady of the USA
-Grand Marshal at Disney Parade
-Met Nick Cannon and Miss America 2014