Friday, November 13, 2009

"Against All Odds"

And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming....

Part IV -- The Week When Time Stopped

Maddie-the-Great hit her first birthday and discovered she loved cake.  She was soon walking and talking and learning to love words.  She hit Two and then Three getting cuter, funnier, smarter, every single day.  She was still dealing with temper and other not-so-wonderful traits, but all in all she was what she had always been...a fiesty, on the money, normal, little kid.  She was the apple of everybody's eye!!  What joy!  And boy, was she treasured!!  Life was good.

Just two months shy of her fourth birthday, she began to have some tummy problems (that ultimately turned out to be nothing out of the ordinary).  Maddie was referred to a Pediatric Gastroenterologist to check things out.  TA was out of town on tour with "Phantom of the Opera" and was gone for several weeks.   So Ratchlet took M-t-G to the doctor by herself.  It was Monday.

For me, time and life came to an abrubt standstill early that Monday afternoon.  I was at work when the call from Ratchlet came in.  The instant I heard my daughter's voice, I knew something dreadful had happened and fear descended on me like an unwelcome nightmare.

I really can't remember exactly what all she said, all I remembered were the words "Maddie" and "CANCER".  Oh my dear God in heaven, WHAT did she say???  Have you ever experienced the feeling that suddenly all your air was cut off?  I felt like that, I couldn't breathe, but I started to cry just the same and I moved directly into panic.

I rushed to the Children's Hospital where Maddie had been admitted!  My daughter and granddaughter needed me, nothing on this earth could have kept me from being with them.  I was terrified and I still didn't understand.  What had happened?  How could she be so sick? How could she have cancer???  How could it be so bad that she was immediately admitted to the Hospital?  That doesn't usually happen until much further into an illness.  This was our miracle child, we had already paid our dues when she was born, we thought.  Surely, it was a mistake.  This could NOT be happening.

When I got there Ratchlet told me exactly what had happened that morning.  They had gone to the Gastro doctor as scheduled and during her physical exam of M-t-G's tummy, she said, "It seems that one side of Maddie's liver is a bit enlarged.  That's not unusual, this happens to a lot of people." 

Then she said the words that saved Maddie's life, "Let's get an ultrasound, just to be sure." 

She was just being thorough, she didn't really expect to discover anything problematic.   Nevertheless, my family and I will be eternally grateful for her thoroughness.

When the results came back, the scan showed that there was a tumor or some type of growth on one side of the liver.  When she talked to Ratchlet, she told her about the growth and indicated that it could be malignant.  She immediately admitted Maddie, to do further testing to determine exactly what they were dealing with. 

Ratchlet had, of course, immediately called TA in whatever city he was in.  To this day, I don't know how he managed it, but he was at the hospital later that same afternoon.  Mikey had come to be with us as well. 

TA is the calm one in the family, he doesn't show his emotions very much and Mike refuses to ever believe the worst will happen.  His position was, don't panic until you know something for sure.  Whereas Ratchlet and I are exactly alike....we go immediately into trying to anticipate the worst case scenario.  (Makes for some interesting conversations in our house!)

Maddie on the other hand was a different story all together!  She didn't feel sick.  She didn't look sick.  Tuesday was the testing day. The tests were all painless, except for the sticks for the blood work, but that was over pretty quick.  So this was an adventure.  She got to go to the hospital!  She got to eat in bed!  And she got cookies and applesauce, and ice cream!! She could go to the playroom.  They had toys and books!! She got to play in a bed that would go up and down!   And they had wagons for going for a ride in!  She was having a great time.

Somewhere in there, the doctors came and said they wanted to operate!  The next day!  They needed to biopsy the growth and remove it.  Oh heavenly day, Surgery!!  She was just a baby!! By this time, I was practically numb.

Ratchlet and TA, of course, had to explain to M-t-G what was going to happen the next day.  Both of them were absolutely great with her, they were calm and didn't panic or get hysterical.  They were merely matter of fact and supportive.  I 'm pretty sure she didn't really understand, but she was OK with it, especially when she found out they had little cars that she could ride into the OR. 

So Wednesday morning very early, she jauntily waved bye-bye to Poppa and Grammy and off she went in the little car with Mommy and Daddy and an IV already attached to her arm, beeping the little horn the whole way. 

I was scared to death as we settled in to wait. 

Part V --  Our Second Miracle

See you tomorrow!


  1. This is the same age Chickie is right now. (She'll be 4 in two months exactly.) I can't imagine getting this sort of news!!

  2. I cannot even imagine what you must have been going through. But now I have to read the next two installments. Can you tell that I've been away from my computer for awhile!

  3. It was awful and surreal at the same time and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

    Sorry it took installments to tell the story! I feel like the author of "The Perils of Pauline." (Do you remember that? I remember it, so you should too!)

    Glad your back!


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