In a few short weeks Little Miss Junior will turn one year old. It seems hard to believe that we’ve come so far in so short a time. It has been a difficult year, but LMJ has taught me so many things. She’s taught me about strength. She’s taught me about people, good and bad, and she’s taught me that great blessings may come from hardship.
First off I’d like to note that LMJ has been doing great. She has been off her Neupogen injections going on two months now. Towards the end of the summer, one of her blood tests came back with a huge spike in her ANC count. That was a good thing. The decision was made to take her off the hard core meds we were injecting 3 times a week and see how her body responded. This was both a wonderful and scary turn of events… wonderful because perhaps we were seeing her grow out of this crazy blood disorder that landed her in a hospital bed. Scary because we were being told to stop the medication that seemingly kept her immune system safe for the last 6 months.
Spin forward to now and LMJ is chugging along on her own power, with no meds. We’ve had one blood test and the results were positive… low counts, but not Neutropenic… meaning her body was building its own defenses. If there’s a light at the end of this tunnel, perhaps we’re starting to see it. Her next blood draw comes when she turns one in October, Happy Birthday! I will hold my breath and await those numbers with a mixture of hope and fear.
As I think back over the past 12 months, I marvel at just how much this little person has managed to teach me in so short a time. LMJ is strong. Inner strong that cannot be taught. She gets this from her mother. In those early days, when her blood counts were alarmingly low… when an infection was literally eating her skin and the doctors were launching waves of antibiotics through her system, as she lay in a hospital bed only a few months old, LMJ was strong. The medical staff marveled at how she lay there and smiled, outwardly so normal, when there was so much wrong on the inside. Week after week, with her littler arms all bruised from blood draws, LMJ endured needles, and poking, and prodding… eventually she’d suffer her daily injections with barely a whimper, the process sometimes more difficult for me than her. LMJ is strong, and through this all, she has thrived, and grown, and provided an amazing sense of stability despite our roller coaster ride that often felt anything but stable. I thank her for that.
LMJ has taught me about the grace of people. In our darkest hours when we still didn’t understand what was happening, and were suddenly living this nightmare centered around our newborn, people stood by us and gave freely of themselves. The community support from our friends at Bigelow was nothing short of amazing. Our familial support, from the parents who moved into our house and hospital room, to the messages of love and notes of well wishing helped guide us through those hours. To the friends who gave their time, effort, and prayers both near and far… I thank you all.
LMJ has taught me about myself… and what is most important in life. She has taught me about the joy of family, and she is constantly teaching me about temperance, patience, and perhaps even forgiveness. Some lessons are harder to learn than others, but I’m trying. As she grows I can’t wait to find out what more she has to teach. It’s been such an amazing year already. So in a few short weeks we will celebrate her first year with us. We will light candles and sing, and her big sister will be excited for cake. I’m excited that we have come so far in so short a time, and for all that she’s already given me, I thank her.