On Sept. 9, 2016, our lives were turned upside down. Just five days before her diagnosis Grace was celebrating her 9th birthday with friends, happy and feeling great! Then shockingly, five days later, she was diagnosed with Acute myeloid leukemia. Dark bruising on Grace's legs and petechia on various spots on her body led us to take her to the doctor. Once our pediatrician received her blood test results back, he called and sent us immediately to Children's Hospital in Omaha. Little did we know that we would not be coming home, but instead, she would be having surgery the next day to implant her central line. She began chemo immediately, both through her IV and also injected into her spine. We would be spending the next five months in Omaha watching Grace battle for her life.
We knew AML was a diagnosis we did not want to hear. We knew it was a rapidly growing cancer and among one of the deadliest of blood cancers. And we knew the treatment was going to be extremely intense. We decided right then not to "Google" anything but instead to trust fully in her doctors, care team and our faith. It's one of those things that you think will never happen to you or your children. But in reality, we were now part of a club we never wanted to be members of.
Grace fought with a positive attitude, faith and perseverance. She refused to let cancer bring her down! When Grace got down, the next day she was back up and determined to remain positive through it all. Grace talked to God daily about what she was feeling, and there is no doubt He carried her and all of us through this storm.
Grace now wants to become a pediatric oncology nurse . . . at Children's in Omaha. The nurses would teach her anything she wanted to know, and by the end of her 143 days at Children's, she knew how to take her own vitals, flushed central lines that her nurse implanted in her dolls and was only in her room if she was too sick to sit out at the nurses' station with her nurse friends that had become family.
On Jan. 2, 2017 Grace had her final doses of chemo. She then fought another battle as she contracted a virus that led to severe sepsis. But ultimately, Grace won. We finally brought her home on Jan. 29. She is in remission, and she has lived life to the fullest! She is back at school and dance, doing all the things she loves so much.
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) has done so much for cancer patients just like Grace. Last year, Grace was hospitalized during the LLS Light the Night Walk in Lincoln. To our amazement, Grace had the largest team in NE history. While the support was wonderful, we were most happy knowing just how much had been donated to help other blood cancer patients. Thank you LLS for all you do to raise funds and awareness for Leukemia and Lymphoma. Our family is forever grateful.