5 Years Ago Today

5 Years ago today, Angelica might have had mono because the antibiotics weren’t working so it wasn’t strep.

The closest "before" picture I can find is almost a year before, Aug 2009.
The closest “before” picture I can find is almost a year before, Aug 2009.

5 Years ago today, we went to the family doctor to get checked out.

5 Years ago today, Angelica got a routine diagnostic blood test.

5 Years ago today, I dropped Angelica off at home and headed in late to work.

5 Years ago today, I came home from work and helped make dinner… Roast chicken with potatoes and veggies and gravy.

5 Years ago today, the phone rang during dinner. Our family doctor called our home phone from his home phone at 6:30pm.

5 Years ago today, I heard a word that I had heard before, but this time was like hearing it for the first time. For the first time “leukemia” was relevant to my family; to my daughter’s life; to my life.

5 Years ago today, we packed bags, though we had no idea what to pack or what would come.

5 Years ago today, I sat on the side of my bed, in the stillness of my room, holding some clothing in my hand, and I cried. For a few seconds I cried, then I prayed, “Father, I can’t do this. Just tell me how it ends.” Then I heard, “She will be ok, but you have to take this journey with Me.” That was all I needed.

5 Years ago today, I left my 9 month pregnant wife, and took my very sick daughter to BC Children’s Hospital.

5 Years ago today, we signed in to the ER and sat waiting, for what seemed like too long, though they were waiting for us. A young ER student doctor tried to give us hope – false hope – that it might still be mono; it can give a false positive.

5 Years ago today, the Oncologist-on-call was Jacob Rozmus. If there was ever a doctor that was gifted to work with very sick children and their parents, it was Dr. Jacob. Though we passed in the halls a number of times in the years to come, it was the only time he actually worked with us, and one of the only times we talked… that I can remember. He told us to not have false hope. He explained what we were facing. He told us details and answered questions. There was a kindness and a peace in his voice that I can’t explain.

5 Years ago today, an orderly with a wheel chair brought Angelica and me to a wonderful and horrible place; we signed in for the first time to 3B. (few words/numbers/letters/symbols hold as much emotion for me as “3B”)

5 Years ago today, I met parents in a small lounge that gave me advice and encouragement, and even gave me some of their fears. As I write this out today, I remember two children lost, who’s parents I met that night.

June 17, 2010The official beginning would be the next day, when we met the amazing man and doctor that would oversee Angelica’s treatment. But the day of June 16th, 2010 stays permanently etched in my mind; the events, the colors, the details, the words, the emotions, all permanently burned into my mind. It was almost 2 1/2 years later that I got to stop Dr Jacob in the hall and thank him for that night, what a difference he made.

There was a peace in the chaos and fear and pain, “She will be ok, but you have to take this journey with Me.”

I’m not sure why today is so significant to me, but it is. For some reason making it as a family 5 years from that day seems unbelievable. It is unbelievable. In the moment, you can’t see tomorrow… there were years of not seeing tomorrow. Looking back and seeing 5 years brings a lot of things into perspective. I am grateful to all the doctors, and staff, and family, and friends, and strangers who helped, and carried us. I am grateful that today, 5 Years later, Angelica is graduating from high school with amazing grades, a bright future, rock solid faith… and most importantly, she has life.