Light The Night!!!
With Emily’s leukemia diagnosis in February, one huge, extended family, along with their many friends, was pulled into a new world. More like flung into a new world. It’s not a world in which anyone ever wants to be. It’s a world that has a lot of not-so-good – like worrying about a little girl’s future – spinal taps – bone marrow biopsies – chemo – steroids – side effects – germs – multiple hospitalizations for random fevers – the never-ending coordination of who will have the other kids on which days – and trying to keep some kind of routine in a new, unordered world. All of this is necessary in this new world, but it can overwhelm you.
On the other hand, this new world is also FULL of lights! Last night, hundreds of people – all of whom have been touched by their own versions of this new world – came together to join in the Leukemia Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Walk – a yearly fundraiser and celebration. And “light the night,” we did! The event was held at the State Capitol building – it started at 5:00 pm with speakers, entertainment, food, and support – and culminated at 7:30, after it got dark, with a walk around the State Capitol grounds, carrying lighted balloons – white for current cancer patients and survivors, red for family and friends, and gold to honor loved ones who had passed away. Every person walking was walking for someone – someone in their family, like us – a friend – a co-worker – or just walking to support people they don’t even know. Every person there was a light.
Our team was called Warriors for Emily. Emily was there in full Emily battle attire – her own Light the Night t-shirt, white tutu, polka-dot leggings, hat, scarf, and sparkly, pink shoes – and that feisty, Emily spirit that has charmed so many and kept her fighting. Her support team included her family – Chrissie and Jason, Ethan, Adam, William, and Sophie – both sets of grandparents – Jason’s brothers and their families – and many, many employees of the company for which Jason now works, BMC Building.
Emily’s spirit caught the attention of many people last night – including people who make their living helping patients like Emily. We met several pharmacists from U.C. Davis Medical Center, where Emily is treated – people who work in the bone marrow transplant department at the Sutter Cancer Centers – and several ladies who work at the Blood Source, both in the transplant center and with the blood donations. All of these people make their living helping patients – but this is also their calling. They are lights in our world.
The brightest light, in our eyes, is Emily. After the walk, there were bands playing on the steps of the Capitol, and Emily’s brothers and sister, along with several cousins, climbed – or were lifted – up on a garden wall so that they could dance to the music and not be in the way of the walkers on the sidewalk. Emily, in true form, demanded to be placed on the wall so that she, too, could dance! She stood up there with her smile and her pacifier, in her battle attire, and danced and jived to the music! What Emily doesn’t know is that she is our music – and she lights our world.
On another note, this past week, Emily finished a two-week marathon treatment that included two spinal taps and eight days of chemo. Her ANC was 230 (minimum for decent infection fighting is 500), as of three days ago, but her nurses are expecting it to be zero by tomorrow. She will go in tomorrow for a platelet and possibly a blood transfusion – then will get chemo and a blood transfusion on Tuesday. Her hemoglobin is low but her body is too little to be able to handle too much fluid volume in one day. Next week will be chemo on Tuesday. After another couple of weeks to recover, she will be through with the Delayed Intensification stage of her treatment and on to the Maintenance phase, towards the end of November. Please continue to pray – as we know you will. And, again – and this can never be said too often – thank you!!!!