Ariya Tritt #fiercelikeAriya

First post: Apr 12, 2022
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Ariya’s Story - February 1, 2022

Ariya’s second birthday should have been a happy day, and it started out that way. A few things fell into place that day though which led us to where we are now. 

Ariya has been dealing with chronic constipation for about 9 months despite lots of stool softeners and laxatives, a couple E.R. visits, as well as regular doctor appointments and appointments with a pediatric gastroenterologist. This is only a small part of the backstory though. 

In October, she had a low fall that led to her not putting weight on her left foot. They x-rayed her lower left extremity and assumed an ankle sprain. 2 days after that she was walking around the block with her papa like nothing ever happened. 2 days after that, on October 13th, she quit walking. After repeated x-rays on her lower extremities, they assumed she was just scared and said to follow up in a couple weeks.  

November 1st, they ordered labs which came back normal except for an elevated ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate, the rate at which red blood cells settle to the bottom of a test tube). The doctor wasn’t concerned because he assumed it was elevated because she had a stuffy nose and assured me everything else being normal meant that she didn’t have anything serious like” cancer”. 

My baby still wasn’t walking and things that shouldn’t hurt her, seemed to cause her pain. So on November 17th I requested to have her ESR checked again since she had no runny nose or any other symptom. It came back even higher, but the doctor assured me again that it was probably nothing and referred Ariya to physical therapy. 

Physical therapy was going okay, but Ariya still wasn’t walking after a month. Things still seemed to hurt her that shouldn’t. They recommended and helped push for Ariya to be referred to a pediatric neurologist, just to check her out and see if there was an underlying cause to her not walking. Sometimes I blamed the constipation, others I questioned juvenile rheumatoid arthritis to be the cause. The pediatric neurologist didn’t have any openings until mid March so we scheduled another month of PT. 

January 7th was Ariya’s 2 year well child visit. I requested to have her ESR checked again which the doctor agreed to do since she needed a routine screen for lead. It went up even more, when the nurse called to tell me this even though I had already seen the result on her MyChart, she said the doctor didn’t feel the need to order anymore bloodwork since it could be elevated because of constipation. I got mad, I yelled, I said I was tired of all of the assumptions and I wanted answers. 

Now we are back to Ariya’s birthday, first I get a call that the doctor put in orders for more bloodwork and I could take her to the lab anytime. I didn’t want to be that mom that took her child for a needlestick on her birthday though. Then I got a call from the neurology specialist saying there was a cancelation for Wednesday morning. I took it and decided to take her for the bloodwork in case it would help lead us to answers on Wednesday. I didn’t expect, nor was I prepared for what came next. I got her CBC results on MyChart and from a non-medical perspective, I knew something was wrong but it was also already after 5pm so I wasn’t expecting any answers on that day. A little over an hour later, I received a call from her pediatrician who had told me he already started his car but he looked at the results and couldn’t leave without calling me first. He said her results concerned him so he put in an urgent referral to a hematologist. He said I need to take whatever appointment they have available and if anything happens or she starts acting out of the ordinary to take her to the emergency department right away. I started to google things, unsure what exactly I was looking for. My plans for being a fun mom and playing a game with the kids turned into me snapping that I needed to do something important, more important than just spending time with them. Then at almost 9pm I got yet another call from the pediatrician. He said that we needed to take Ariya to Lansing the next day. That I needed a pen and paper to write stuff down. That I needed to repeat everything back to him so he knew I got it right. That I should call Dr. A at this number so she could answer questions. That I needed to repeat everything again and make sure I went to Lansing the next day. That there was SOME concern that her bloodwork COULD indicate LEUKEMIA. 

Everything after that moment was a blur. I remember mentioning the word to Chris and telling him we had to go to Lansing. I remember thinking they were being over cautious because there was no way, the doctor just said a couple of months ago she didn’t have cancer. I remember thinking he could go to work and I could take her downstate because I was sure they were being over cautious… but I’m thankful he insisted on coming with me. I’m thankful my cousin was able to come over and help out with Alex and Gabi until my mom retired and could take over. I’m thankful I have so many supportive people to help us out through this time.

It has been the worst 3 weeks of my life. It hurts so bad seeing everything my baby is going through. Not being able to save her from it all is the worst feeling in the world. The first three days while they were doing tests to figure out her official diagnosis of B-cell ALL were brutal. When they took her from my arms to take her to surgery so they could put her port in almost had me on the floor, Chris kept me from dropping in that moment. I never knew I could cry so much or that it could come out of nowhere. It is even worse when I can’t hold it together and she hugs me like she is comforting me. She is the strongest and bravest person I know and I know she will fight this but it still hurts. Being so far from my other children is another heartache for me, though it helps knowing they are in great hands. 

Thank you to those of you who have reached out. Thank you to those of you who have helped out. Thank you to those of you keeping us in your thoughts and prayers. Our fight is stronger because of the love and support we have from each of you.