Gains and Losses

Now that we have made it through the first six months, and the most clinically intense part of Mollie's treatment, I find myself reflecting on this whole experience.

I am still mourning the losses. Mollie won't have that normal, carefree childhood that every parent wants for their child. And Matt and I will always be concerned about her health. We will always worry about chemo, follow-up, long-term side effects (like diabetes, learning disabilities, AVN, secondary tumors, etc.), relapse. And that's if things continue to go well!

On the other hand, through this experience we have gained tremendous clarity. It has cemented our marriage and our family. Our priorities are clear. I know I am a better mother and a better person. It is easier to let go of the small stuff. I think I'm less judgmental (or more likely to keep my opinions to myself). I am still working on living in the moment, not what was or what will be.

Lucy has been impacted too... having to sit through all those clinic visits and hospital stays. But she's so young, she will have no memory of what life was like before Mollie was diagnosed. Lucy has been Mollie's constant companion throughout her treatments, and I hope that she and Mollie will have a good relationship as they grow up.

And then there's Mollie, my little hero. She's tough. She's resilient. She knows she's different from most of her friends, but she doesn't seem to think it's a big deal. At 4, I doubt she's feeling the same kind of loss that Matt and I feel, but she has been through a lot. All of the changes in her life and the drugs will continue to have an emotional impact. She will start seeing a clinical psychologist who specializes in medically fragile children- hopefully this will help her work through some of her feelings about this ordeal. Because she's so young, I don't know what the long-term psychological effects will be. In Mollie, I see a greater fear of the unknown than before, but I also see strength, courage, the ability to ask questions, and a tremendous sense of caring/empathy for others.


  1. Wow, when I first read your blog I could not respond. I have to admit I got all misty eyed but you've sat beside me in the clinic as I cried in relief that a piece of this nightmare was behind us. I have a hard shell but am really soft and squishy on the inside and it's not all fat. It rips at my heart at how much and how quickly these children have to grow up, that a part of their childhood is taken away from them, they'll never know this but we as parents do. I am so glad that Mollie is doing good, I love the picture. Continuing to pray for you all.


  2. Sarah, Your post made me cry. I know and understand so many of your feelings, simply because we share the bonds of motherhood, but I can only imagine how your perspective has reset everything and has deepened your appreciation of the speed and fragility of childhood. A poignant reminder to us all. There is a reason Mollie has managed this so wonderfully...because YOU have handled this with strength, courage, grace, and determination.

  3. I'm so happy that Mollie is doing so well. You are both so brave...and such an inspiration.

  4. Sarah,
    Your post made me cry too, but they are really tears of joy. Although I spoke with you earlier I feel compelled to put my thoughts in writing - or at least oh's and one's.
    Of course the person I should be most worried about is me (this is not to be selfish - but then you know my story). In fact I worry more about you and Matt - because somehow I think Mollie can deal with her situation on her own terms based on support from you & Matt. I really don't know. But what I do know is that I admire you & Matt tremendously for the way that you have stepped up to Mollie's disease. I'm not sure I could have done what you have done, but that is just idle speculation on my part.
    What I am really trying to say is that is SO IMPORTANT that you & Matt maintain your own equilibrium (& I think that you are both doing an outstanding job of that).
    Just like me, if I can't be "there" for myself then I am of no use to anyone, and I feel that the same is true for you.
    So take great care of yourself so that you make take great care of Matt & your daughters.
    I love you,
    Dad (TC the Grouch)

  5. If any such crisis were to hit me and my family, I can only hope that I will handle it with the grace and strength of your family.

  6. Hi, Sarah. Welcome to maintenance! Congratulations! It is so much fun to think about Emily returning to school and to her friends. I am Katie's mom (Katie Grace Kelley), and we wanted you to know that we have been cheering for you from a distance. Katie and I visit your blog often to check up on all "our girls." She doesn't like to think about other the kids struggling or sick, but she is really interested in the idea that she is not alone on the journey, and she gets a kick out of different families' stories when I read her the posts. She would say, if you asked, that she "knows" Mollie and that Mollie is her friend. For what it is worth, we are very happy for you and for Mollie, and we will continue to cheer for you this winter. Best wishes from all of us.


  7. Thank you so much for your comment on my blog about my granddaughter, Lily, who was diagnosed with ALL on 12/1/08. So good to read a first hand account from someone who has finished the first "consolidation" phase of this treatment. I will be reading a lot of your blog now. I'm so glad that Mollie is doing well. This is a scary time.

    Lily's site is www.caringbridge.org/visit/lilyhensiek. Also http://lilysgarden.org. If Mollie has a CB site, I'd love to visit there as well. Thanks again.

  8. Thanks, Sarah. This was such an amazing blog post. I really appreciate your willingness to share your journey with us. Even though you are far away, I think about you and Matt and Mollie and Lucy so much and it makes me feel that much closer to read your blog everyday. love, L


Comments are always welcome!