My heart is so heavy right now. Leukemia has taken another little girl...one that I knew and loved. Her name was Pyper and she was 3 years old. She was diagnosed at 6 weeks, stayed in remission for the 2 years of her treatment, relapsed shortly after completing, had a Bone Marrow Transplant, began to thrive and last month she went into ICU for what they later decided was an intestinal infection. She "gained her wings" as Cancer families say, at 4 this morning. Her mother said the family is stunned, tired and numb. And I am breaking for them.
When we first were in the hospital, in those first horrific hours I took a walk around the AFLAC unit. On the wall near our room was a picture of a sweet 4 month old named Pyper. This was before I was told just how aggressive and difficult to treat Leukemia is in the very young...I did not know it was rare and that Scottish Rite sees about 1 case a year. I saw this little face and I thought, surely it would be okay. If this little one can make it to 3 years old, then so can mine. She was a little face of Hope for me. A tangible, visual confirmation that some babies beat the monster that is Leukemia. I didn't know yet how hard she had struggled. How rough the road had been for her family and herself. I also didn't know her yet.
In December, I was in the clinic for chemo for my Piper when I saw her name on the patient board. My heart leaped. I was going to meet my very own Hope, My encouragement that we too, could beat this. And I did meet her. And I met up with her again during another inpatient stay. She was beautiful and quiet. She colored me a picture and smiled sweetly even though she was obviously not feeling well. Piper and I walked the halls with her and her mommy. It was then that I heard just how rough her road had been. Just how many obstacles she had faced and just how many times she had stumbled. Her mother informed me, encouraged me, understood me. Pyper still amazed me...just being where she was, was an incredible thing.
Its only been since December that I have known her family. But in this world of cancer, chemo, and uncertainty, its been a lifetime. Its as if we are in a war...patients and families become much closer in small amounts of time than in the "real world". And that is why I can honestly say that I loved that little girl. I didn't have the time that others had with her but she was my very Inspiration. Even in her short life she touched many. I would not have made it through the first few weeks without her being my Inspiration. Thank you Pyper for being yourself. You were beautiful and you are forever in my heart.