As soon as the month flipped over to August on the calendar I began dreading this date. As each day approached I worried the way I would feel and how my emotions and anxiety would be today.
Unfortunately this day will always remind me of those words “Harlow has cancer” for the rest of my life, not because she will have cancer forever or because I’ve surrendered to it but because it brings up all the emotions that are associated with it now. It reminds me of all the other children we met and their families, those long nights meeting in the hallway or early mornings in the Starbucks line, grabbing the largest coffee they sell and going on day 4 or 5 without a shower. It reminds me of all the dinging and bells going off all night and the constant fear and worry anytime a doctor would rush in.
It brings me to my knees thinking and re-living that day and when 4 doctors walked in together with boxes of tissues and a concerned look on their faces that I knew we were in for something serious. The way they just stared in silence at us as we screamed and sobbed constantly asking on repeat “Are you serious? Are you sure?”
Still at times you wonder if its all just one big nightmare that I just might wake up from.
However this is our reality today and forever.
Today marks One year since diagnosis.
August.9/2017 at 2:00pm our lives forever changed.
So much has happened this past year, I’ve felt more stress than I knew my body or mind could even endure. From infections, all nighters, NG tubes, fungal infections, blood clots, procedures, pokes, chemo, physiotherapy, transfusions, emergency room visits, living away from home for months, missing special occasions or celebrating them in a hospital room, drs visits, constant fever watch, etc.
I am beyond happy to leave this past year behind us, it really has been a learning year for me in more than one way. I’m still learning things daily from this change in our life, it’s not a fear that will ever go away for me and unfortunately once the word “cancer” has been said, you live in constant fear of it returning.
I’ve realized that you really do need to embrace everyday, you need to celebrate small and big victories, you need to complain less and forgive easier, you need to not take yourself as serious, you need to have compassion for strangers for everyone has a story and struggle they are dealing with. You need to appreciate your health, and most importantly love fully, love wholeheartedly, and unconditionally.
Our journey with Harlow isn’t yet over, we still have just over a year of treatment left however she is doing really well right now, we try our best to keep life as “normal” as possible for her. We encourage her to play like a typical four year old and to be her true self, which is crazy, fun, outgoing and kind.
I couldn’t be more proud of the person she is becoming and how amazing and wonderful she is to people around her and I’m constantly shocked at just how strong she is, she is resilient. I will always look at her and see a fighter no matter what the future holds for her. She’s a badass !
Our family and close friends really have been amazing through this whole journey, really supporting us and still constantly checking in. You don’t notice just how much you need people until your at rock bottom. Our friends and family scraped us up off the floor and held us up when we couldn’t stand on our own. They showed up, they told us how much they loved us. You don’t know just how much that meant and how much it helped us push through the really dark days.
Life has a funny way of teaching us lessons and we’ve chosen to take this really hard year and make the best of it, thankful for what we have and where we are today. Thankful harlow is not in hospital today, she is enjoying summer and being a real four year old, scraped knees and all. We are so thankful for that and for the days we aren’t in BC Children’s hospital.
We are staying positive and hopeful about the future for Harlow. This is not her life it’s just apart of her story, she is one incredible child. Saying goodbye to this year and hopefully this next year will be less eventful and more positive. Thankful today she’s sitting right beside me and has the biggest smile on her face.
I LOVE YOU MY HARLOW
Thankful. Grateful. Appreciative. Blessed.
PHOTOS BY THE TALENTED: WARIN MARIE PHOTOGRAPHY