Life is good!

September 3 marked the 4th anniversary of Mollie's last day of chemotherapy.   Back in 2010, she had landed herself in the hospital with a severe rash, swollen gums, and fever.  A new hospital, in a new city, with doctors we had never met.   She wasn't showing signs of improvement for about a week, so the oncologists decided to do a bone marrow aspirate and a skin biopsy.  On what would have been her last day of treatment, we should have been celebrating her last chemo dose.  Instead, we were in tears watching her get wheeled off to surgery, and then waiting, scared to death, to find out whether she had relapsed.

We are so thankful that is in the rearview mirror.  An understatement, yes, but there is no way to truly convey how relieved, blessed, and happy we are.

Mollie also had her annual followup with her oncologist here at Children's Hospital Oakland.  She got a clean bill of health and a little medical education from Dr. B.  She got to listen to her own heart, chart her growth, and learned about percussion of her abdominal organs and palpation of her lymph nodes.  She does have some palpable lymph nodes and slightly enlarged tonsils- maybe signs that she is fighting a cold, but nothing worrisome or abnormal given her overall health.

The best news is that she doesn't have to go back for a year!  And she won't need another echocardiogram until 2018 because she received the lowest anthracycline dose and her scans have been consistently clear.

If you are so inclined, please check out our Alex's Lemonade Stand Million Mile Run page.

Mollie and Lucy's awesome cross country coach (Marin) wanted the team to do this as a service project.  The miles logged aren't up to date, but we will get there!  Mollie and Lucy are dedicated to XC.  Mollie loves running and has already shaved 3 minutes off of her mile from last year!

Thanks for checking in…



6 Year Anniversary

In some ways, six years ago seems feels like a lifetime ago.  Mollie was so little, a few months younger than Liam is now, when she was diagnosed with leukemia.  I almost can't remember what our daily life was like before that diagnosis.
Mollie on her first communion day.

Today, we are all different.  We still feel the effects of this devastating diagnosis physically, financially, and emotionally.

Ready to show her artwork at the school talent show.

But, for the most part we are fine.  Mollie still doesn't really like to talk about her "cancer" experience, the long hospital stays, and the chemo.  And Lucy is very afraid of short hair and hair cuts- we wonder if she associates Mollie's bald head and constantly short hair with all the hospital and clinic visits and periods of Mollie not feeling well.

Dress (and act?) crazy day.
Most of the time we are just busy with the day to day activities of school, work, and sports.  Childhood cancer is all around me, but I avoid thinking too much about it.  I don't know whether it is still too painful or I just want to focus on other things because I'm afraid it will rear its ugly head again?  Or maybe because in this family with 3 active children, we just don't want to make room for cancer.

Last day of school.

 I do hope that one day we will have the opportunity to set up a foundation in Mollie's name, to give back, to help other families in the same position we found ourselves.  I'm most interested in siblings/whole family support, counseling for parents, and long-term effects on survivors.   Navigating the world post-cancer is tough.   We had a laser focus on Mollie's survival for several years, and it is still challenging to get back to "normal".  It is hard to know what to expect and what kinds of questions to ask of doctors & teachers. How do you communicate the whole experience to new friends who didn't know you when you were going through it? 

A's fans.
We know we are lucky the Mollie not only survived, but that she is thriving.  Our challenges are minor compared to so many affected by childhood cancer. We are so thankful to everyone who helped us get through the diagnosis and treatments.  And we appreciate how fortunate we are to be surrounded by these three happy, inquisitive, creative children 6 years after that heartbreaking day.