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.

Friday, January 7, 2011

No More Tube-ees!

Thursday night we took this picture.  Erin was happy, no BEYOND happy!  She was bouncing off the walls happy.  She knew that in the morning she would be getting her central line pulled out.  I told her that I would get her up when it was still dark (we left at 6:30 am) and drive her to the hospital where a Doctor (Surgeon) would take her tube-ees out.  I also reassured her that she wouldn't have to sleep at the hospital, but that when she was done, she could come home.  She woke up several times in the night.  It was almost like she couldn't sleep because she was so excited to get the tubes out.

I think she looks so grown up in this picture.

We arrived at 8:15 am and she got to play in the waiting room for awhile.  The twinkle in her eyes just shows how truly happy she really was.

All decked out in hospital attire.
Many people commented on how sweet HE is.
With her hair short and dressed in blue,
I guess SHE does look like a really cute HE.

On her way to the Operating Room.

The surgery was very simple.  The Surgeon pulled the tube out and put one little dissolvable stitch in.  It took about 30 minutes.  Erin woke up demanding a purple popsicle.  She was also upset about the pic line they had put in her arm to give her fluids while she was out.  I reassured her that they would take it out before we went home.

Dressed and ready to go home.

Erin requested a "birthday cake" as a treat for being all done.  We decided to celebrate a "birthday" for all of us.  The start of our cancer free lives!  We each put one candle in the cake and then we sang, "Happy Birthday" to our family.  Then we all blew the candles out together.

A wiggly, happy, tube-ee free Air Bear!
We will keep the bandage on her tube site until Sunday. 
Shortly after that she can bathe like a normal kid again.

I have had so many feelings throughout the day.  I am so thankful that Erin is cancer free.  I am thankful for all of the skilled Doctors and staff that have taken such amazing care of us.  I am thankful for the sweet comforting blessing of the spirit that I have felt throughout this whole awful process. 

While I waited in the post-operating waiting room I thought back to June 2nd, when John and I waited for Erin while they put her Central line in place.  We had found out literally 10 minutes before they placed the line that she had a severe, rare form of Leukemia.  I never want to experience those feelings again.  It was so much better being in the room the second time knowing that Erin is healthy. 

As I walked through the halls of Primary Children's today I was in awe that we had spent 6 1/2 months there.  It felt like a lifetime ago that we started into treatments.  My sense of time is still very out of whack.  I am still stuck in June and I still feel like next month is July.  Christmas was beautiful, but still a bit of a blur as the weight of what we've endured is still wearing off.  Maybe when next June comes I'll get back in sync. 

I am so thankful for Primary Children's Hospital, but I don't want to have a child admitted there ever again.  Living in a hospital is not cool.  I was so thankful to walk out of the doors with my child on my hip knowing that hopefully (hopefully, hopefully) she'll never be admitted back there again.

Of course, she has Clinic visits once a month, but in a few years she'll only have to go once a year.  There is (and probably always will be) a nagging feeling in the back of my mind that reminds me that any day the Cancer could start growing again (1/2 of the kids with AML relapse).  There are days when I don't really think about it and other days when it consumes all of my thoughts.  Sometimes I even look at my other two children and wonder if they are getting sick.  Not just a cold or flu sick, but REALLY sick.  Cancer sick.

My perspective on life is altered.  I have those "nagging cancer coming back feelings", but overall I am more calm, more at peace with who I am and what I can endure.  I can hardly believe that cancer has taught me that.  I more completely understand that this life is a time to learn, grow, and progress spiritually.  It is a time to learn charity - true charity - the pure love of Christ. 

Some might say, "but Erin is so little, so innocent, so pure. 
She did nothing wrong. 
Why did she have to suffer?" 

Well, bad things happen. 
That is part of life. 
If we didn't understand the bad, we would never truly appreciate the good wholesome beautiful parts of life.  Our Savior suffered more than we can comprehend. Our suffering, even Erin's suffering, is nothing compared to the Savior's.  But, it has brought us closer to His love for us.  We are able to understand a little bit more about what He did for us.  He suffered and died so that we can be redeemed and be worthy to live in His presence some day.

I am so thankful for the spiritual blessings that our family has received.  We have seen miracles and been granted blessings from this trial that we couldn't have received any other way.

"Yea, though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil:
for thou [art] with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." 
(Psalm 23:4)


  1. Yes, Happy Birthday to all of you! Love the cake. Love the pictures. And especially, I love all of the thoughts you've shared. And I don't think I will ever again see a purple popsicle without thinking of Erin :)

  2. How wonderful to be tube-ee free and look at all that hair! You're family is awesome and we loved hanging out with ALL of you over Christmas.

  3. I love the birthday cake idea! We are so happy that Erin is free of her central line---HOORAY! Please tell her we are excited for her. Love the pics too! We miss all of you and can't wait till we can have a joint "cancer free" celebration in a few months!

  4. So well put. It hits too close to home for me, I think, as I get more than teary-eyed reading this post. I had/have so many of these same feelings: the thankfulness, the blurring of time, the nagging "what if" thoughts, the disbelief of having gone through such an experience.

    I remember during my monthly return visits, I could enter the chemo rooms, without cancer and genuinely cheer on those going through it. It felt so therapeutic, and that I was able to give a little back.

    Happy Birthday :) (I still celebrate September 25 every year as a special day...my cure date.)

  5. Hooray! We are all so happy for you! I think you should come on a trip to England to celebrate...

  6. No more tubees!! So glad that all went well. So grateful that for right now she is beautiful and healthy. I know what you mean when you say you never want to see your child or children in the hospital ever again. Been there. I know that nagging feeling too. Even though we have never experienced Cancer. (knock on wood) We pray for little Erin all the time. Especially Ben. He said in his prayer once that he wants to meet Erin someday.

  7. What a blessed day. I am so happy for you all, but especially for Erin. Much love to you all.

  8. beautiful post, jill. i loved reading your thoughts. and HOORAY!!! for all of you - what an amazing point to have reached - cancer free and done with treatment! i love that picture of all of your family sitting with the cake - it is a beautiful sight to see you on the other end of this. erin looks truly happy in her pictures waiting to get her tub-ee out. :)

    i know what you mean about those nagging "cancer coming back feelings". we have truly lost our medical innocence. i hate that. i was already too much of a worry wart. :) we will keep praying for erin to stay cancer free.

    i'm SO happy for you guys!!!

  9. Congratulations!!! So glad for the closure for you all! Feeling grateful along with you too. Loved the birthday cake idea. And I thought your comments regarding the whys of it all were well said. I've heard people say "I'm grateful for my trials." That's hard to say but I say "I'm grateful for the things I've learned from my trials." That's where the miracles are and that is the why. Congrats again! Love to you all!

  10. This is so exciting. Congratulations!!! She is such a cute and precious litle one. We too are looking forward to being "done" someday.