Posted by: Tracy | 2008 February 15

It was February 15th, 2001; 7 years ago

Tanisha at age 4

I can remember that date like it was yesterday. I will take you back a little bit. It all started around December. Tanisha was 4 years old and she always complained she wasn’t feeling good but I never took her serious. I worked in a daycare and all the kids were getting sick and being sent home. I thought she was just trying to get some attention or something. Now I feel guilty for not believing her.

Then in January of 2001 she complained of her bones hurting so I thought growing pains because my brother had them pretty bad when he was younger. I took her into the urgent care and got x-rays but they couldn’t see anything wrong, so that passed as well. Then she started to run a fevers that Tylenol wouldn’t take them away so I took her to her doctor. They told me to start giving her Ibuprofen and Tylenol interchanging them every two to four hours. The fevers kept getting higher and higher, I was taking her in weekly to the doctors but they kept saying to observe her.

The second week of Feb. 2001 she had a WIC appointment and they check her iron and her hemoglobin was 7.4 and the normal range is 11.0 and her blood was orange not the rich red it suppose to be. So they told me she needs to get to the doctor because she was anemic at least what they saw or maybe have lead poisoning. So we called the doctor’s office and they wouldn’t take my word for it and wanted the WIC info. By that time offices were closed and so we had to wait for the weekend to be over. Monday got all the info for the doctor’s office and they wouldn’t take her until the next day which would Tuesday Feb. 13th, 2001. Took her in for her appointment and they wanted a chest x-ray and lead poisoning blood test. Since I was pregnant and can’t stand needles I called my mom to see if she can meet me at the Providence lab and x-ray place so she can be with Tanisha. So I went to my parents house and waited till she got off work. I went to go check on Tanisha cause she was sleeping and she was burning up, I took her temperature and it was over 105 degrees, her eyes where rolling and she couldn’t comprehend what I was asking her. So I called 911. First the fire department arrived, then the paramedics. Poor Tim my brother because he came home while the fire department and paramedics where there and they wouldn’t let him in the house. I had to let them know it was okay for him to come in. I called Brett to let him know what was going on, called my mom, she called my dad. The ambulance took us to Emanuel Children’s Hospital and everyone headed to the hospital.

We got to Emanuel and they started to run test on her, took her blood and urine to find out why she was running fevers. Everyone started show up at the hospital including our Pastor, one of the elders showed up for support. That was nice because I was stressing. I was pregnant with Katelyn at the time. They decided to admit her because her blood counts didn’t look good. They ran test for two days and she was still running the high fevers and they couldn’t figure out why. We even had my boss calling all the parents at the daycare to find out the outcomes of each of the illness of each child. Tanisha still stumped the doctors. She was getting poked every four hours to get her blood and test it. We celebrated Valentine’s day in the hospital that year. Our elders where coming almost daily to pray with us.

Finally on Thursday, February 15th, 2001 they decided to do a bone marrow test to find out if she had cancer. The doctor explained to us the procedure, that they will knock her out and get some bone marrow from her back hip. She also explained if the procedure took around 15 minutes that most likely she wouldn’t have cancer but if it took up to an hour then most likely she would have it. The doctor came back in 20 minutes and told us it clear and she didn’t think Tanisha had cancer and the results will be in a few hours. That was a little bit reassurance. So we took Tanisha to the playroom at Emanuel, my mom was with us as well. Before we knew it the doctor came into the playroom and asked if we could come with her and if my mom could watch Tanisha. That was the longest walk I had to Tanisha’s room and it was the closest to the playroom. The doctor had a med student with her, we went through the double doors and I noticed the med student grab a box of tissue. I knew that sign wasn’t a good thing. As we were proceeding down the hallway the doctor said “there really isn’t any good way to put it, Tanisha has Leukemia.” My heart just fell. We got into the room and the doctor explained that Leukemia is blood born cancer and what it could do. She gave us all the positives like she 85% survival rate and that we probably caught it early. She explained the negative things about it and also explained many couples fall into a divorce after this has happened to their child. I remember some of the stuff they said but I forgot a lot of it as well. She also said we had to wait for the next day to find out what type of Leukemia she had. Once we knew what type of Leukemia she had they could start treating her. Then they let us know other people will be coming over to explain things and give us info about organizations we could be part of. Before I knew it they left. I didn’t cry the whole time, I don’t know if I could have because I didn’t know how to feel.

We went to playroom where my mom and Tanisha was at and it was time to talk to Tanisha about what is going to happen and what is wrong. My mom already figured it especially when we walked in and all I could do was hold Tanisha in my arms. Told my mom and dad when he got there. Then we called the rest of the family to come over to the hospital, even called my brother out of class. We told them all at once in her room, I am glad Tanisha was asleep while we told them because my sister fell to the floor and started to cry hysterically. I can’t remember what other reactions were. My parents neighbor came to visit and let him know what diagnosis was and all he could do was give me a hug and leave. He cherishes Tanisha like his own. I didn’t know what to do. We got through that night better than I thought I would be. I still hadn’t cried yet.

The next day we found out she Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, now we could treat it. She received a blood transfusion because her red blood cells were low. They started to give her medicines to her and we just sat there numb. The elders of the church came and prayed with us and over her. One of Brett’s friends stopped by and gave us support because her son just finished all the treatments for the same thing A.L.L. That was nice to see somebody just finishing and he survived. Brett’s family came on Saturday, Feb17th and played with Tanisha in the hospital. I remember my nephew Grant (which he was 4 1/2 years old at the time) going through the double doors and pretending to have force powers to open the doors. It was funny, when I see those doors I still remember that. One of Tanisha’s friends from when she was a baby came to visit her, they played together in the playroom.

Tanisha with her cousins Tanisha in wagonTanisha with friends at hospital

For the next few days we played with her and just had fun. On Sunday, Feb. 18th, she went into surgery, she got her port-a-cath put in. Now she didn’t need to be poked everywhere and get blood draws, and all her treatments went through that. Once she got out of surgery and recovered we were sent home. That was toughest week I have ever had. Now it was time for us to give her the medications and go in weekly to get bone marrow biopsies to check how she was progressing. By the end of Feb. she was in remission and gained 15 pounds mainly water retention from the steroids she had to take. We celebrated with family and friends.

Tanisha and GrandpaTanisha

In July of 2001 we went to Disneyland through Make-A-Wish Foundation and my family came along with us. That was fun to get away from the stress of our lives.

She had treatments for 2 1/2 years to fully done. We were in and out of the hospital a lot. More than Brett and I put together and I am sure my families as well. August 18th, 2003 was our last bone marrow biopsy and we clear light she was okay. She is a survivor of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. She has some side effects from it but we are so happy that we have her still. I didn’t cry the whole time she was going through treatments, I stayed strong for her, now I can cry.

God has blessed us through this in many ways especially with the support of family and friends. We thank everyone for being there for us and being such a good support to us during this time of trial. We actually didn’t have it as bad as we could have because we have seen other kids struggle the whole way through their treatments. She even realizes that she is blessed because she survived this. She knows she could have died from it but God had saved her. She has a more of a grasp on life than most kids her age. I love Tanisha so much, I am grateful that God had spared her life and can use her as a testimony. She is a gift from God.

I made this video for her so she can be reminded of many memories happened during that time.


Responses

  1. Okay, seriously, I cried my eyes out at all of this. The video is incredibly special and precious, and I am sure means more to you than I would understand with all the friends and family. I had no idea your family went through all of this. Thank you so much for sharing, and praise God for the gifts He has given us through our kids. God bless all of you!

  2. Thank you for sharing and the video is amazing.

  3. wow- what a journey! it doesn’t seem so long ago that the kids were that little. that was such a neat video, i really enjoyed watching it! thanks for sharing. God is Great!!


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