8 years ago today it was the day after Thanksgiving, we had just had a snow storm and I was enjoying looking at my new little girl. I remember thinking when she was born that she looked just like a little old man. I also remember looking at her and thinking she was going to be a special little girl. I also had a feeling that she wasn't going to be here for very long. I have no idea what made me think that or how prophetic that feeling was. I just never wanted to let her go. I wanted to hold her forever because it was the only way I knew I could keep her safe.
I felt guilty for a long time because I looked at that beautiful little girl and had such bad thoughts. When she was 2 weeks old she got Pink Eye. I should have known then that she was going to be a handful. Have you ever tried to pry open a newborn's puffy little eyes to get goop in them? It is not an easy chore. You go through life wanting to keep your children safe. Bad things happen to other people. Never to you or your children.
Jaime broke both bones in her lower leg when she was 17 months old. At that time I thought back to that feeling I had when she was born and thought that would be it. That was the bad thing I felt would happen. Jaime would heal and that would be the end of it.
5 months later we were all on top of the world. Jaime had just learned to walk for the 2nd time after finally getting her cast off. My sister had just given birth to her own beautiful baby girl the week before. I was even excited about getting a root canal! Jaime had a Dr appt coming up and we weren't all that worried about it. We were concerned but not too concerned.
We had previously brought up concern for her big belly to Drs before. We were always told "it's normal for babies to have Buddha bellies". it got to the point that we were a little more worried about it. We took her to her regular Dr who thought it might be an abdominal hernia. he referred us to a Surgeon. 3 weeks later we went and saw that Dr. He thought it could be a weak abdominal wall. He referred us to a Pediatric Surgeon. At that point we really started to get concerned since we weren't getting any answers. That was the longest 4 weeks of my life waiting for that appointment.
The day we saw the Ped. Surgeon we were hopeful. We wanted some answers. Never in our wildest dreams did we even think it could be Cancer. cancer was something that happened to adults. Not my little girl. The day we found out was something I will never forget. The Surgeon took one look at her and said we need to find out what this is. I think he knew as soon as he saw her. I thought the 4 weeks up to that day was long. It wasn't as long as the 2 hours we had to wait after we had the CT scan until the Dr came down and talked to us. I was frustrated from being made to wait and couldn't understand WHY we were waiting for so long. He was getting everything set up for us so we wouldn't have to wait after he told us.
The dr came back to us with a nurse and asked if the nurse could take Amelia who had come with us as well, to a play room. While we had been waiting I had called my mom to pick Paige up at school. I remember when the nurse took Amelia out of the room that I started shaking internally. I felt like I couldn't take a breath. He told us she had Cancer but wasn't certain what kind. Then he told us that he had the surgery already scheduled for Wednesday (that was a monday) but we would have to go to the Children's Hospital in Minneapolis since the St. Paul hospital didn't have enough Oncologists on staff at the time. But the kicker was we had 2 hours to get to Minneapolis or he was going to send the police to find us. Her tumor was so large that she could have bumped into a table corner and burst it open.
Thankfully we didn't have time to dwell on the fact Jaime had Cancer before they did the surgery to remove it and her kidney. We've also been blessed because they didn't know which of 2 cancers she had until they removed it. One choice was a cancer that was not usually curable, the other choice was one of the most curable. She was lucky it was the 2nd. We went through 6 months of treatment, 6 radiation treatments. She is one of the lucky ones and is cured.
She is now dealing with an ovarian cyst that is the size of a golf ball. This is her 3rd large cyst. But she is a rockstar and you would never know. When people find out their first question is always "Is she in pain?". I can't answer that and I don't think she could either. Although she would say no. I think she has grown up in pain (you can't tell me a 7 pound tumor growing out of your kidney doesn't hurt. They removed it and she lost a quarter of her total weight!) and doesn't know that it isn't normal. For that she is my hero.
She is now a typical 8 year old little girl. She has her ups and downs and does her fare share of annoying her sisters. She has a spark in her eyes that doesn't quit. If you ask her she will show you the scar that goes halfway across her belly. She will show you the scar where her port was and tell you that is where she got her medicine. And she will show you and let you feel the implant that is under the skin of her inner bicep that is keeping more ovarian cysts from growing.
I look at her now and don't get the feeling that she won't be around like I did when she was born. I look at her and see the future. I look at her and am humbled by her mind, by the views she has on death and life and even God. I see in her a very old soul that has been around the block more then her fare share and I admire her for that. She is in 2nd grade and has the reading level of a 6th grader.
All parents hope their children grow up to be better people then them. I don't have to with her. I already know. I strive, every day, to be as open, caring, helpful and considerate as she already is.
Happy Birthday Jaime Lou. I love you more then you will ever know.