The last few days I've been
As I've discussed before, I'm a believer. I very much believe in God, and believe that God wants everyone to be healthy and happy. Sickness is not caused by God. It's not a punishment, it's not of God. That said, God is no respecter of persons. I don't believe that God picks and chooses who gets to be healthy just because of how much cash you drop into a donation plate, or how nicely you dress on Sunday, or because you won't stop asking. However, I believe in prayer. I believe in asking God for help, strength, and courage to overcome whatever obstacle that is in the way. This said, I still spent the last numerous hours bargaining and negotiating with the Big Man. Now I know that God doesn't operate like this. Still, I bargained. "I will do absolutely anything you want God, just let my daughter be okay." "Dear God, please, if someone has to be sick, give me whatever it is she has." " Please God, please don't let her have leukemia, name your price and I'll do it." As if God has a price. Ridiculous, I know. I know God wants my daughter to be healthy. He wants her to have a long, happy, healthy full life. Still, I ain't too proud to beg. And beg I did.
My children are everything to me. I can't imagine my life without them. I wouldn't want a life without them. I wouldn't have a life without them. Now before you go jumping to the "you are more than just a mom, your identity shouldn't only be in your kids", I know that. I strongly believe in having one's own identity. And yes, I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, etc. But above all, I'm me, Stacy. I've heard it said somewhere that when you give birth, you also give birth to your heart. At that very moment your heart ceases to live inside of your body, and instead, lives outside of your body. This is the most accurate metaphor I can come up with for how much my children mean to me. A body needs a heart to survive. I need my kids.
Isabelle came down with a high fever a week ago. She's had no other symptoms other than a high fever and a headache. This began on a Thursday night. Immediately I thought "flu". I cancelled an appointment I had for Friday, and arranged to work from home. I thought, "Of course, right before the weekend". Why does that always seem to happen when a doctor isn't readily available? Then her temperature shot up to 103.8. I started to worry. She'd never had a fever so high. Especially without any other symptoms. I called her Pediatrician's office to see if I should bring her in, or at what temperature I should be concerned. I hated that she had such a high fever and the Dr.'s office would be closed on the weekend. I wanted to be sure I was accurately educated on what I should be watching for, and when I should take her into the emergency room, if ever. The nurse told me to keep monitoring her temperature, and use the fever reducing methods I was. If she started seizing or hallucinating take her into the ER immediately. If she had a fever for 4 days I'd need to bring her in. The thought of my poor girl hallucinating or seizing frightened me. I watched her like a hawk. I figured her fever would start to come down over the weekend. It didn't.
My mind started to go places I didn't want it to. Scary places. I knew that a high fever so many days in a row is a bad thing. I knew that a fever with no other symptoms would be alarming to a doctor. I feared what Monday would bring. I tried to put my mind to rest and not think about Allie, Nick, or leukemia. I kept telling myself, it's just a virus. The fever will go away. Monday morning came and she still had a fever. I called to make an appointment. It was set for 2:20pm. I took Belle into the Dr.'s while Omar stayed home with the little guy. The whole time I tried to calm myself and think that the Dr. would assure me it was just a virus. I was wrong.
Her doctor was very concerned about such a high fever so many days in a row. She wanted a blood test ran immediately. She also found some lumps/swollen lymph nodes on her. She asked if Belle had been scratched by a cat. A cat?? No. We don't have a cat, and Belle is never around cats. Apparently cat scratch disease can cause swollen lymph nodes on the neck. She wanted to test for this to see if that was the cause. Off to the hospital Belle and I flew in order to get the test done in time to receive the results that night.
I've had to edit this paragraph numerous times. It was just too horrific an experience for Belle to go into detail. Instead I've decided to give the high level jest. Belle's blood test involved me and another nurse holding her down while the technician took several viles of blood which took FOREVER. I've never seen or heard my baby so upset and scream so loudly. My poor girl felt so betrayed by me and was furious. She said numerous hurtful things out of her anger and just wanted to be left alone. She refused to speak to the hubby or myself for hours and shut herself up in her room wanting nothing to do anyone. Knowing my baby was in pain and so upset and not being able to comfort her was brutal. Not being able to just hold her in our arms when that was all we wanted and needed was torturous.
The next few hours waiting for the call was horrific. Every second felt like an hour. Every minute felt like a day. I couldn't stop shaking. My heart was racing, willing the phone to ring, yet praying it wouldn't. Please God, please let her be okay. Omar and I would nervously make eye contact, squeeze each other's hand, hold each other tight, and reassure each other, "She's going to be fine." It took everything to not let the tears that filled our eyes run over. We put on our bravest faces and played with Elias who seemed to run amok and curiously look at us wondering why no one was disciplining him. We took turns going upstairs to check on Belle and see if she would finally let us in. After a few hours she caved, and let me into her room and wanted a hug. She said she wanted to watch a movie with us and have ice cream, and that's exactly what we did. We both sat on either side of her and squeezed her tight. She commented, "Wow, you've never squeezed me so tight before!" We tried to ease up as best we could, but couldn't help ourselves. She picked Alice In Wonderland to watch, the Johnny Depp one. Her laughter filled the air and drowned out the movie. I gulped down my tears. They were painful to swallow. I ran my fingers through her long, beautiful hair. Please God, no. Omar and my hands touched on her hair. Our eyes met. I knew his mirrored mine. They were brim full of tears, fear, and pleading. We continued to "watch" the movie with her. Finally I couldn't take it anymore and said I was going upstairs to make "the call".
I knew the office was closed and I would receive the answering service. I explained the situation and that I wanted the on call doctor. Someone was suppose to call us with test results, the lab said they'd be in the doctor's hands an hour and a half ago. No one had called. It took the several minutes for the customer service lady to reach the on call doctor, who had to call the lab for the results. In the meantime Omar had snuck upstairs. I was kneeling on our bedroom floor on hold. Praying. Pleading. Begging. Eyes still brim full, brave face struggling to stay in place. I told him what was going on. He began to turn to go back downstairs to check on the kids. And then the doctor came on the line.
"Mrs. M.? I'm sorry it took so long. The lab didn't fax over the test results so I had to track them down. Isabelle's blood counts and platelets are within normal range......" Normal range, normal range, normal range. "There is definitely a sign of infection, and inflammation. There isn't any bacterial infection. Her pdt...." Infection, inflammation, no bacteria, normal range counts "We still don't have a few of the test results back, the cat scratch fever being one of them. That will be in at the end of the week..." "Okay, but you said normal range? Her blood counts and platelets?" "Yes, everything looks in normal range. Meaning NO SIGN OF LEUKEMIA." "NO leukemia. NO LEUKEMIA?" "That is correct, her blood actually looks really good. No leukemia or any other type of blood disorder. I believe what she has is very bad viral infection." "What about other types besides leukemia?" "I would say no, because her blood would not look this good and fevers fluctuating coming down if that were the case. If she's the same tomorrow as she is today, keep her home doing the same. If things escalate, bring her in. If things are the same Wednesday we most likely will want her brought in for another round of testing. Right now we aren't positive what is going on other than she has an infection. One that will not respond to antibiotics since it's not bacterial. We're going to have to monitor, wait and see." "Okay, but just to be sure, you said no cancer. NO type of cancer to worry about?" "No, no cancer."
I hung up the phone and the tears that I had been fighting to contain for days came violently gushing out as if the dam that held them back broke. Hysterically I got out the words to Omar, "It's not leukemia. No cancer. She's okay." He collapsed next to me and we both sobbed and sobbed in each other's arms. I don't think either of us have ever cried so hard in our lives.
Every day since then Belle's fever has continuously gone down. Each day's high is lower than the previous day. Her doctor has been checking in daily for updates, and says we are on the right track. She seems to be on the mend. As for her swollen lymph nodes, the test results for the cat fever came back negative (as we knew it would). Her doctor feels confident that the swelling is due to this nasty virus. We're to wait two weeks after she's fever free to bring her back in to be examined. And so I find myself still continuously talking God's ear off. Thanking Him for the good test results. Knowing that not all families receive good results and we've been blessed. Thanking Him that her fever is continuing to go down. Asking Him for today to be the day that she is fever free. Begging Him that everything resolves itself when this fever and infection goes away so that this nightmare is over. Again and again I find myself pleading. Please God, please.