Feb 25, 2022 Latest post:
May 18, 2023
Welcome to Maia's CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement.
Maia started experiencing pain in her right rib a few weeks before Christmas. She woke up around 11:30pm the first night crying and complaining of sharp pains in her rib area. My first thought was appendicitis, so I scooped her up and took her to my mom and dad's house for mom to examine her. While we were there, she mentioned she had been playing with her brother and they had used hard plastic sticks as swords, and he poked her pretty hard. We naturally thought she had a bruised rib and since she calmed down, we figured we needed to give it time to heal. About once a week since then, Maia would wake up and complain of her rib hurting, which would pass in a few minutes or after a dose of Tylenol and all would be fine again. I could always justify the pain; it was because she was being too rough with her brothers, or she was practicing gymnastics or new dance moves.
During the first week of February, Maia woke up two nights in a row complaining of the same pain. On February 2nd, she woke up in the morning and asked if she was going to the doctor soon. Cesar and I called Dr. Kidd and got her in to see him that afternoon. In the doctor's office, she was running around, dancing and having fun. Out of an abundance of caution (he is AMAZING!), Dr. Kidd agreed maybe an x-ray would be a good idea to check things out. We took her to get an x-ray immediately after the appointment. The x-ray technician asked me to stand back with her in the booth while she took the images of Maia's chest. By the second picture, I knew something was very wrong. I suggested to the tech that the x-ray didn't look right and of course, she is not allowed to say anything. She just sighed. She then went out to Maia and asked her if she was in pain or if she had trouble breathing. My heart broke for the first time that night. I knew we had missed something, but in my mind, it was an infection that we had missed.
Maia and I got back in the car and Cesar immediately knew I was afraid. He drove home while I texted my mom and sister Julie the picture I had taken of the x-ray. My mind was reeling. Mom knew I was on the verge of a breakdown, and she graciously called Dr. Kidd's office to say please don't go home without getting an answer to Sarah and Cesar about Maia's x-ray. We got a call from Dr. Kidd within an hour where we learned the radiologist wanted us to go to Riley to get a CT Scan and that he also thought it would be a good idea to reach out to Maddox's oncologist, Dr. Lion. I handed the phone to my mom and walked away because that didn't make ANY sense to me. Cancer?? That was out of left field. Especially for those of you who have heard me tell Maddox's story... for two years I felt something was coming, something that was going to be very hard but something that was designed to grow us. When Maddox was diagnosed, it was horrific... but it made sense in some odd way because that matched the feeling I had been having for years. But now with Maia, I never felt anything. No mommy gut, no intuition. Literally the ONLY inkling of something was the night before we took her to the doctor, I was talking with all three kids and I looked over at Maddox and again felt an overwhelming sense of love and a strong sense to beg God to protect him from any secondary cancers in his future. But again, it was for him not for Maia.
Even with the storm coming, Cesar and I decided to take Maia to Riley that night. She was so brave while she got her IV and then went into the 'donut' to get her CT Scan. They told us it would take an hour to get results. An hour and a half later, I became very anxious. When the doctor walked in, she asked a child life specialist to sit with Maia while she took us to a different room. I didn't want to walk in. She proceeded to tell us what they believed Maia had, a malignant tumor that had a few other spots around it. Cesar yelled 'Cancer?' and after wailing, I left the room. That night started a 12 day hospital stay where Maia had 2 CT scans, a PET scan, a surgical biopsy of the tumor, a bone marrow biopsy and a port placement, as well as her first of 14 rounds of chemo. To say she was exhausted, scared and confused is an understatement, but she is SO incredibly strong and she has been processing in her own way so beautifully. We have so much more to learn from her.
There is nothing in this world that prepares you to be a parent. There is nothing in this world that prepares you to hear your child has a serious or life-threatening illness. I know so many of you who are reading this can relate. To hear these words twice in one lifetime is overwhelming heartbreaking. Cesar and I are so incredibly humbled yet again by how much love we feel from our community, our tribe. I am so sorry that we have been very quiet over the past few weeks. To make eye contact when we are out means we need to engage in a conversation and to engage in a conversation means we have to utter the words that we have yet to come to terms with. And we have been fiercely protective of our boys. We needed time to share the news with the boys as well as help them process and it needed to come from us first. While we have normalized cancer in our family, to have to walk the journey again is heavy enough for an adult and for a child, it just doesn't make sense. We needed to be able to share small bits of information with Maddox and Isaiah at their own pace without them hearing from others something that might seem very scary about their sister.
Thank you for loving us through this and for holding us up when we can't stand. This will get easier, and we will start sharing more. This is our first step towards providing more information to all of you so you can continue praying for our sweet, spunky Maia for a complete healing and minimal to no side effects from her treatment.