On June 1, 2010 our two year old, "Little Air Bear," was diagnosed with Childhood Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) Type M7. After enduring 146 days at Primary Children's Hospital, Erin is now in remission and living a full life at home with our family. Her strong will and constant happy smile is an inspiration to us all. Through our difficult circumstances we found great strength and peace in our Savior, Jesus Christ. Thank you for checking in on us.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Count Your Many Blessings - Even With Acute Myeloid Leukemia

I have been thinking a lot about how blessed we've been, even as hard as it was to hear that Erin has Acute Myeloid Leukemia M7. It's hard to put into words how this challenge has truly been a blessing to our family. I don't mean to put things lightly or to be frivolous with the severity of Erin's illness, but there has been so much silver lining throughout all of this.

"Count Your Many Blessings Name Them One By One"

It couldn't have happened at a better time. Just 5 days before Erin was diagnosed, John finished a school year with Cache County School District and had just begun summer vacation. My accompanying had slowed down so we suddenly had a lot of extra time on our hands.

It's summer. Yes, we are stuck inside, but at least we don't have to worry about H1N1. The hospital doesn't let anyone under age 14 up here during flu season, that would've meant that Cecily & Caleb wouldn't have been able to even see Erin while she was here.

I have gained a better eternal perspective on life. My eyes have been awakened to what I can take with me when I leave this mortal body. I can't take my newly remodeled bathroom, I can't take my piano, I can't take my favorite jeans, nor can I take the money in my pockets. What I can take with me is my family, my relationships with others, and my heart.

A year ago we seriously considered taking a job in Arizona. If we had moved we wouldn't have had the family support that we have here. And, we wouldn't be near as close to Primary Children's. Living so close to my parents, so many cousins, and John's sister and her husband has been a humongous help.

I have learned to cry. I am serious when I say that I was a cry-only-three-to-four-times-A YEAR kind of girl. There have been many times I have wanted to cry, but I didn't. Maybe I was ultra-tough and now I'm being softened. In any case, I've made up for the last 31 years worth of crying that I missed. It feels good.

Just a few months ago we considered buying a new home but it just didn't feel right. I can't imagine being in this same position without the amazing support we've received from our wonderful ward and neighbors that we have grown to love so much in the last 6 years.

Being on the receiving end of so many people's generosity is an overwhelming feeling. I used to be so tough and hard and not want anyone to help me. I have learned to say "yes" when people offer help.

The laptop I had been using needed to get back to Logan. John and I talked about buying a new laptop for me here at the hospital so that I could have some connection to the outside world. I took the laptop back to Logan on Monday afternoon and to our amazement a brand new laptop arrived in the mail that same day as a gift from all of my siblings. We didn't tell anyone that we needed or wanted to buy a laptop. It's wonderful how the Lord works.

Just a week before Erin's diagnosis I organized everything. I printed out my summer piano teaching schedule and had it ready to go, I made 3 month summer calendars for the Young Women and handed them out to the leaders, I retrieved some letters from parents for an activity and turned them in almost a month before they were due, I had all my finances for June set up and ready to be paid. These things may seem trivial, but when this trial turned our world upside down, I had the peace of mind that all the "assignments" I needed to do were already done.

Due to the generosity of several people (including the mechanics at Expertec) we were able to do some major work on the engine of our van and it is running like new again.

One of the biggest blessings for me is that I'm beginning to understand some of my baptismal covenants more. When we are baptised we covenant to bear one another's burdens, that they may be light. We promise to be willing to mourn with those who mourn and comfort those who stand in need of comfort. All my life leading up to Erin's diagnosis I guess those phrases were just words to me because I didn't realize that I didn't understand them until now. Never in my life have I been so lifted in my burdens, never have I had so many people mourn with me and comfort me. I am ashamed that I haven't been more willing to bear other's burdens and mourn with them. Having a child with cancer has helped me see so many Christlike examples. I am humbled by your willingness to mourn with us and to help us lift this burden so that it is light. Thank you.

Tags: "Childhood Acute Myeloid Leukemia" "AML" "Leukemia" "M7" "Acute Megakaryocytic Leukemia"

5 comments:

  1. You're amazing...thanks for your example!

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  2. Thanks for sharing! I love hearing about the little blessings that have helped you out. We miss you guys.

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  3. I have been thinking about the timing as well. During the school year could have really compounded the stresses. I am so glad that you have the strength and the goodness to try to look for the silver linings.

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  4. I needed that testimony today. Thank you for sharing this experience with us.

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  5. That was beautiful. It is really uplifting to see you handle this experience with such faith in the Lord and gratitude in your hearts. Thank you for sharing that, Jill. Ever praying for your sweet family.

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