I don’t have some perfectly-organized, elegantly-articulated, seamlessly-written piece to share today. It seems like when people are going through shitty times, they often tell stories about how they’re warriors, about how they’re going to get through it, about things happening for a reason, about strength and courage…
I don’t have the energy to prepare something like that because the fact is, I thought we were planning a funeral.
And so, while I’d like to provide everyone with a sunny anecdote about how we’re doing ‘good, despite the circumstances!’ the most I can muster is a raw glimpse of what’s been happening over the past 3 weeks and also extend a soulful thank you for all of the love and support you’ve given us. Yes: we are warriors, we are strong, courageous, and optimistic, we can and will do hard things… but it is shaded by the harsh reality of our situation. Bare with me.
The Neurosurgical team crowded the emergency room and started explaining the details of the fucking mass that was slowly killing my baby girl. She was sitting on the hospital bed playing with her toys as I sat there deciding what to do when she died. The way the neuro team was talking to us, that seemed like the only outcome. A casket? No, definitely not a casket. An urn? Maybe one of those tree things? Can we do that? Will we need to buy land? How do I keep people from ruining my baby when she’s a tree? Is this really happening? I cannot believe this is really happening… not to my daughter, my baby girl…
That is where our ridiculous journey started… How was that only three weeks ago?
The first week was horrendous. I had to try and stay calm as she looked up at me with sad, confused eyes when she found out she couldn’t go home. And when the nurses told her to say goodbye to mama and daddy before surgery. Or when I quietly sobbed as they put her to sleep in my arms for the first of many MRI’s.
I wish they taught a class on how to look brave.
After the surgery, they brought her back and told us that they had removed everything… It was only mere hours later that we found out they’d missed a portion of the mass and were going to cut my baby open all over again. How was I supposed to cope with that?
That week was the stuff of nightmares.
The second week though… was for mourning. We thought we had lost our sassy, adventurous, kind little girl. Although her brain was trying to protect her, it was so badly damaged that Penny had lost the ability to speak. I missed her laughter… I couldn’t believe how quickly I forgot how the sound of her little voice.When she was able to open her eyes, she looked so sad. All I wanted to do was hold her, but with all the tubes inserted in her, it was almost impossible.
Looking at photos and videos of her from before was like torture.
The third week was a good one. She got all the tubes removed and was finally able to eat which made so much of a difference. Finally, she began finding her voice and walking with assistance. We got to enjoy all these little firsts again while we waited on her pathology results. The ignorance was great, everything else had been happening so quickly. The wait, while excruciating, gave us a chance to breathe. It gave us a chance to focus and decide our next few moves and enjoy the little accomplishments each day.
That week of blissful ignorance gave Chad and I the ability to solidify that we would not let this define our family. Like I’ve said in past posts, our family motto is “We can do hard things, together.” And this situation is no different. This tumor will not change us. We may have to do things a little differently for now and our main focus is Penny’s health but we refuse to let this shit-storm consume us.
We now know that it’s cancer. But ya know what, Fuck Cancer.
She will beat it, I will consider no other option. We plan to do it “our way” as much as possible. But doing it our way is going split our family up for a bit. Chad and Maddox will be holding down the fort in Utah while Penny and I head to Seattle, Washington for radiation therapy. We do everything together as a family… the idea of leaving Chad and Maddox at home breaks my heart but the idea of uprooting my son for six weeks or more seems unfair. So we will do the hard thing and miss each other instead.
My heart has been shattered but the support and love we have received from family, friends and strangers around the world is holding me together. You all are my glue. And there will never be adequate words to express how touched and humbled I am. The love I have seen for my little girl has been breathtaking. So to everyone who has thought of us, prayed for us, cried with us, fed us and supported us… We are forever in your debt and you are forever in our hearts. But as for now, all I can say is THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.
To support this family, follow @PenniesForPenny on Instagram and participate in the online auction. Bidding starts Friday.
Also, please send a financial gift to their GoFundMe account if you’re able.
To read previous Penny updates, click here.
Mama of two attempting adventure and maybe some personal growth. Kauai native but a Utah local. You can find me on the trails with the family, either bribing the little one or explaining to the bigger one where acceptable places to pee are. Find her on IG: @ThorneeeSachi