Like changes in an instant.

Most of you have heard by now, but we got some life changing news on Friday.  

It's natural to say our world has been turned upside down, but I've decided I don't like that term and I'm instead looking at it as our lives have just been turned side ways for a bit. 

Life will be back to a new normal soon. 
 I'm determined and stubborn enough to make it happen. 

The story is a short one and something typical of a lifetime the wee hours of Thursday morning, Olivia woke me up complaining of not feeling well. She was running a high fever, so her and I were up most the night trying to get it under control. Around 7am that morning, she started throwing up non stop, by lunch she started throwing up blood. That would be when I decided to throw her and Millie in the car and rush to the Children's Hospital. We got there just before 2:30pm and she looked so bad, they immediately took her back to start iv fluids and run blood test. By 4:30pm, they had came in and dropped the bomb on us.  

They told us there was a possibility that this could still be just a virus that has taken her out. Though I usually try to remain positive, something in me just knew. Call it a mother's instinct or just a gut feeling. I knew that Friday was not going to be good news and life would never be the same. Every fiber in me knew we were about to start a battle with something big. Friday afternoon I walked down to get lunch with my mom and John, when I got the call from David that the doctors were here to talk to us. I jumped up and sprinted back to the ICU. When I walked in to see six doctors waiting for me, I shattered to pieces right there and probably cried harder than I've cried in awhile. I've dealt with enough medical stuff in life to know, it doesn't take six doctors to come tell you your kid had mono and you're going home tomorrow. 

If you've known me for longer than 2.5 seconds, you know I'm not one to sugar coat things or beat around the bush. 

So, here is is....Olivia has cancer. 

Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) to be exact. 

Here's the good news, if there is any type of cancer you want to get, Olivia has hit the cancer lottery. ALL has a 85-95% cure rate. 

Hear that....CURE rate!!! That means there is a very good possibility that cancer will eventually be a distant memory in our lives. It means my girl will grow up and live a full healthy life and not always carry the label cancer with her. She will go to prom, she will get married and have babies of her own one day, she will be a Rockette one day like she always says she will be. 

We have better odds at beating this cancer than we do at winning the Mega Millions next week. As David told the doctors, we'd take 90% odds on anything you're throwing our way. 

So, sucks ass. No parent ever wants to hear their child has cancer. This is the stuff that happens to other peoples kids. But, it's the cards we've been dealt and last time we went to Vegas, we went home with more than we came with. 

As I told David, we've been dealt something that has great potential to be completely gone from our lives. There are not a lot of families who can say that medically for their children and with that, I feel blessed. 

The next few months/years will be rough. Everyday will not be pretty. There will be days filled with tears, setbacks, and fears. But there will also be just as many days filled with giggles, smiles, and dreams. 

One of our mottos in the Mabrey house is "we can do hard things." David actually started saying this to Livi when she was two and we often hear her spitting these words back to us. You can believe these words have already been thrown around our icu room over the weekend.

We can do hard things and we will. 

Last night livi and I were alone in our room and I told her, things aren't going to be easy. I'm going to be mean when I have to be (I.e. When she refuses to take her meds) and I'm going to love her and hold her hand through every step of this journey.  More than anything, I'm going to fight for her. There are going to be days she feels like giving up, but I'm not even giving her that option. She will fight this and she will beat this.  

This hard but beautiful journey starts today. Today we moved from ICU to the Aflac cancer wing and around noon tomorrow, Livi will go in to the OR to receive a pick line and her first round of chemo. She will also get a bone marrow test and a spinal tap. This is standard procedure with all ALL patients. 

We're learning a lot right now and have so much more to learn, so bear with me if I go back and forth on information about what is going on. They heard I loved reading and literally threw a bible sized book about Leukemia at me.  There is a lot to learn about our new normal. 

And that's just what it is....a new kind of life for us. 

One that's going to have hills and valleys, along with sunshine and rainbows. 

If there is one thing I've learned in my thirty one years, it's that none of us are promised an easy life. We are all given our own trials.  At some point in all of our lives, we're all going to fight some type of battle. 
Cancer is now one of our battles. 

I'm not angry. 
I'm not sad.
I don't feel sorry for us. 

Instead, I sit here thankful 

Thankful that she did get sick and we found the cancer.

Thankful that I seriously just got in the car, turned on GPS, and drove straight to the #11 Pediatric Cancer hospital in the country, without having a clue what the heck our future was about to bring. 

Thankful that the Oncologist who happened to be there that day has been doing this for thirty years and happens to be a part of the biggest research group for Leukemia in the country.

Thankful that they believe the cancer has only been living inside her for only two weeks to two months. 

Thankful for doctors and nurses who already feel like family and whom have literally held our hands and wiped our tears these past few days. 

Thankful that for the prayer and love that has surrounded us these past few days. The family that has stepped up and the friends who have come out of the woodwork to help us. 

Thankful that this is a journey that already has and will continue to bring us closer as a family. 

As I told Livi last night, it's time to fight and we're going to fight with everything we have in us. 

We can do hard things and we will. 


Ashley said…
You're so brave. I remember the moment my husband (then boyfriend) was diagnosed with cancer. It will change your life bad ways, but even in good ones.

Thank you for sharing your journey.
Tristan said…
Livi is fierce because her momma is fierce.
She is so going to beat this..she will win this battle!
I am in tears trying to even believe I am writing this comment on this post.
I am covering you in prayers by the minute.
Hannah said…
I found your blog a while ago from journey to Josie and have been sporadically keeping up with your life.. I'm a pediatric oncology nurse and ALL kids have my heart :) your outlook on this life change is perfect - it's going to be tough, but it's also still going to be life. You will meet so many amazing families going through the same thing and so many nurses who care about Olivia like their own. Kids are so so so resilient and I can't wait to see how your daughter fights this!
Wendy said…
I have been following your blog here and there (found it through Journey to Josie) for awhile now. Livi is in our thoughts and prayers in Ohio!
Debbiefrank said…
My son Alex was dx with ALL at the age of 11 in 1996...I'm happy to say he is 29, married and expecting his first child in February! I won't tell you it was an easy road but.. HE SURVIVED! I pray the same for your Olivia! ♥ I am Stephanie Kovalsky's aunt Debbie.
hugs from Ohio
Jennifer said…
Amber, you seriously blow me away. And I can see where Livi gets her fierce fighting, life-giving attitude. When I first saw your news on Instagram I cried and told Todd I wished I could go find you and just cry about all of this with you. I am so so so happy to read that this cancer is cureable, what wonderful news!!!! I'll be continuing to.pray for y'all on this journey, especially the hard days. Sending lots of love, hugs and prayers from Texas!

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