When the email came across, I'm guessing no one imagined it was to inform us that Mariyah had leukemia. The girls were at a sleepover birthday party when I received the email. I thought about how to tell them, but they already knew when they came home. The sleepover was at the home of a Brownie Troop leader. She told the girls since her daughter already knew.
Of course the Brownie families are in shock. Mariyah always seemed so healthy. When we talked about her symptoms, there wasn't anything that really jumped out and screamed "She's really sick." Her parents said she was sick quite a bit during the past year, but more like a flu than anything else. Her doctor decided she had been sick too often and admitted her to the local children's hospital to run a bunch of tests. When those all came back negative, he said, "We have to consider this possibility and run the tests."
It scares all of us as parents. Even as we rally to create a calendar filled with ways we can support them from cards to a basket of videos to taking her sister to troop activities, we're all aware that this is a long haul. Mariyah is currently in the hospital for her first round of chemotherapy. Her treatment schedule will take between thirty and thirty-six months to complete, assuming each portion goes well. Any complications will lengthen the schedule.
The prognosis is good, but this is with her for life now. I recently read an article about the long-term health complications of childhood cancer survivors. "Normal and healthy" isn't really an option in their lives. It's more like "in long-term remission."
The Brownies are taking it better than the parents. I think it's one of the advantages of being young. They know she's sick, but in their world parents and doctors fix everything. The most they all know about being sick is the occasional ear infection that is cured with some icky medicine.
For us parents it's just frightening on so many levels. We're banding together to help Mariyah's family and holding our own daughters a little tighter while saying a prayer that they stay healthy.