Reflections at the start of February

Wow, here we are at the start of February already. And we only have another 7 months, 1 week and 3 days left of treatment. Every so often, I go through her beads to see where we are at and how many she's accumulated to date and it is quite astonishing really, we now have close to 1,000 beads.

Since Bianca was diagnosed beginning July 2007 (which was 609 days ago), Bianca's experienced the following:
  • 446 days of chemotherapy
  • 112 finger pricks, port access, injections
  • 113 days in hospital as an inpatient with various infections (one of these infections were an unknown viral infection of 34 days, mostly on oxygen and in isolation)
  • 88 days in isolation
  • 72 various tests
  • 1 surgery to insert a port
  • 3 times where Bianca either lost her hair completely or had significant hair thinning as a result of chemo
  • 16 lumbar punctures
  • 4 bone marrow aspirates
  • 15 dressing changes
  • 33 clinic visits
  • 4 nose tube insertions where Bianca was fed through her nose tube
  • 39 blood product transfusions (red blood cells, platelets and plasma)
  • 19 days of IV antibiotics
  • 32 unusual things
But despite all this, Bianca's love for life, her enthusiasm for learning new things and her smile on her face is a constant reminder that it is indeed possible to live life despite cancer. And most of all, it is hard to believe just how far we've come in this journey. I've been going through some of our photos and it sure does bring back memories!

Here is Bianca before she was diagnosed. Bianca always had very short hair and it took us nearly 2 years to be able to make these tiny little ponytails and finally when she was around 3.5 years old we were able to tie her hair up properly.

This photo was taken the very first time she was admitted to Wellington hospital, technically she had leukemia already here, but that was before she was formally diagnosed and before she got her port. We didn't realise at the time just exactly how pale she was.
Oh lovely steroids, see how puffy she looks! Initially when Bianca started losing hair we got it cut before finally shaving it all off.

This one is my absolute favourite! This was a little while after we got her hair all shaved off. It was a huge relief for Bianca because she couldn't handle waking up with hair in her mouth, on her face, on her fingers and everywhere. And we thought she looked beautiful!!!

One of the hardest days for me personally was when Bianca was in hospital for 34 days in isolation and on oxygen due to an unknown viral infection. I could handle a lot, but the day they said that she was going to get a nose tube, that was tough. We fought so hard to get her to eat and she just wasn't interested and so we had to tell her that she was going to get a nose tube and she looked at us and said "I will eat" and I had to say that it wouldn't make a difference, she still needed to get it. Terence took her to the treatment room and I remained behind crying. In the end it did take some of the preassure off from trying to get her to eat, and in all honesty once it was in, it really wasn't too bad, it was really just hard getting it in. In this particular photo Bianca has her nose tube, her oxygen tube, she has an IV line into her port and she was connected to an ECG machine (if I remember correctly), and most of all - her smile!!!

I have to say I love this photo too. This one was taken last year at one of the CCF activity days and Bianca loved playing with the bubbles.

And as you can see even today Bianca loves just being a 5 year old girl. She knows she is sick, but she doesn't make it an issue in her life. And that's what we've learned from her that no matter how hard life might be, no matter what it might throw your way, it is possible to live life to the fullest and smile!


Anonymous said...

I have been following you for a while now, but not since the start of Bianca's Journey. Some of the photos here are heartbreakingly beautiful. You are a brave and strong family. Love to you all.

Anonymous said...

Wow, it was so cool seeing all those photos. Bianca sure has grown up a lot since the start of treatment. And it's so great that you can now count down the days.
I hope that you are having a happy weekend. And thanks for the lovely words that you always leave for us on Pete's CB.

Anonymous said...

As you know I have been following your blog for a little over a year now, and I must say that you and your daughter and family have really been through so much. It is overwhelming just to read what she has experienced. It is so hard to comprehend the emotions and pain that as a family you have endured. But what an inspiration to all of us reading it and seeing how wonderful and beautiful she is today. It gives us hope and without hope, what is there? So, I look forward to reading about all of her successes and triumphs in the months and years to come.
Thank you for sharing your life with all the hardships and joys.
We share a common bond.
Rosemary NY

chantelle said...

she is really an awesome little girl!!! and she really inspires me a lot!

Amanda said...

She is such a courageous little girl!! Your heart must have been broken a few times during this journey, you are such a strong and courageous mommy!

Anonymous said...

Every one of those photo's are fab. It is amazing that we have so many similar shots on the other side of the world (you get better weather though). I hope the next 7 months fly by and you can exhale...Life on maintenance is so much easier that the intense blocks but just wait until she gets to off- treatment, evryday will be super . Leonie is off treatment since November and her energy levels are great and her appetite normal. I feel for you with the next dex course always lurking around the corner but only 7 left ! Regards from snowy Ireland,

Julian said...

Wow, this reminds me of how lame my own problems are. What a trooper!

Anonymous said...

I love this entry lea. I miss you guys a lot and of course especially the girls. All those pictures made me happy. Bianca is so amazing, I know she changed my life. Miss you all a lot. talk to you soon