Gracie battled Leukemia once before. It looks like we are in Round 2... more than 6 years since her initial diagnosis and start of remission (which was Jan 2012, a few months before her 5th birthday).
I considered building from our original Caring Bridge site. After reading my last journal entry, I can't do it. So, I am starting a new one. I will use this to update everyone over the course of her treatment.
There is a long road ahead.
In late April, Gracie started to complain of ankle and knee pain. On June 13th, after an MRI (which flagged a warning) and then a bone/marrow biopsy of her tibia, we confirmed the news we never wanted to hear: Gracie has relapsed with pre-B ALL (Leukemia).
She is the kid whose odds of relapse were low, this was never supposed to happen. Once again, her symptoms were not traditional. No child deserves this. Not once... surely not more than once. She is now 11 years old, so young and so kind. It is not fair... but we will get her through this, again. Whatever it takes.
Her pain continues to increase - she can't walk without limping and she stopped running. She needs help getting up and down steps. What she wants is so innocent and so simple... she wants to be able to walk again without it hurting. Through some tears, she asked me to teach her to run again, when it doesn't hurt. She wants to play tag, and jump on the trampoline. She just wants to be a kid - that's all.
Gracie will be admitted to Cincinnati Children's Hospital on Tues June 19th. She will begin BLOCK 1 chemotherapy on Wed June 20th. The next 3-4 weeks are critical for her health and prognosis, and for what comes next. She will be in-patient to deal with her treatment and its side effects. We will take it only days at a time, otherwise it is too much. Treatment after 4 weeks depends on how she responds to the initial chemo.
We will reach out to friends and family for whatever help we need. Right now there is nothing to ask for - except for Gracie's healing. And, some ability to smile despite it all.
It is sad. We are all sad, and scared. But, please don't be sad around the kids if you see them. What they need right now is strength, some sort of normal life, and a way to find laughter. Most importantly, we all need hope. Without hope, there is nothing.