Our New Normal

Boy are these words weird or what. During this journey of nursing my baby girl back to health, we heard this a lot. Those three words. The beginning of a new life for us. Aamaria was your typical 8 year old. No known health issues as far as Leukemia on either side of the family so this hit us pretty hard. She was complaining about side pains and as a mother, you just know when something isn’t right with your child. We took her to the doctor and he ordered to have blood work done. That first phone call,  when I tell you it took me for a loop. No parent wants to hear your child has cancer.

 We rushed to Egleston, where they admitted her. This would include tons of hospital stays, chemotherapy, radiation and loads of other things. The beginning was rough for me but I will tell you this. If I didn’t have a relationship with God, I don’t know how I would have made it through. I remember praying to God “Just keep my mind together and help me get through this”. We always had to keep a suit case packed just incase she ran a fever and needed rushing to the E.R. I tried to make the hospital stays like home. I would decorate the walls with paper flowers, drawings and paintings that we did together, hang paper butterflies from the ceiling, houses and anything really. Crafting was my way to get through it. It was my therapy. I’m a crafty chick at heart. Give me some paper, scissors and glue. I can make magic!
 It was so gloomy there. Most of the kids were drained and couldn’t do anything. I tried my best to brighten up our time there. We spent a lot of holidays there but we made the best of it. She was able to meet a lot of celebs. We walked the garden, read, played tons of board games, did loads of crafts.

The meds/chemo she was taking had crazy side effects. During the time she had hair loss. It was difficult because we had to build her self-esteem back up. Another place that really helped and made her feel as if she was NORMAL was CAMP SUNSHINE.  This place is awesome. I’ll provide more info about Camp Sunshine on my website.

Aamaria has been through so much at such a young age. She also had a friend that had cancer. Now how ironic is this. They went to the same school, rode the same bus, went to camp together. Heck, some days we even had the same appointment days. So they would meet up, take pics and the other girls mom would post them on Face Book. It was so sweet that my daughter was able to have a bond w/someone going through the same thing she was. Unfortunately, her friend lost her battle. It hurt us both but in different ways. It hurt Aamaria because she didn’t understand and asked me “why did God take her friend and not her”. I explained to her that “God still has work for you to do here on earth”. On my end, I was hurt for the mom because how could I look this mother in the eye. What could I tell her  knowing my child is still here and hers isn’t. It was very hard. But again, we made it through.
When we were able to go home. She couldn’t go back to school. She was home schooled. We had a lot of support from her school. They came over to visit, fixed her a big basket full of goodies, they also raised money for us. Shout out to NEWNAN CROSSING ELEMENTARY SCHOOL! She had to have special transportation and the bus driver Mrs. Debra(we’ll never forget her) was the best. One time Mrs. Debra the bus driver told me she heard the girls talking about what they wanted to be when they grew up and she said she would just pray that they would make it. It tore her up on the inside to see them in the condition they were in. She went above and beyond for my baby. Aamaria missed 3rd-4th grade but returned during 5th. It was a challenge but she made it.
I would like to send out a big thank you to the Leukemia/Lymphoma Team at CHOA Egleston. Dr. Keller we love you. You are the best. All the nurses who became like family, Child life Team, The whole staff from gift shop, kitchen, floor/cleaning crew. Thank you!

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