Sunday, April 27, 2014


As we go on week 3 of Ava's ALL treatment, we are filled with so much thankfulness. We have been surrounded by the support of our family, friends, and even strangers since day one. Ava's story has been far reaching thanks to the MANY people who have worked together to spread awareness for bone marrow donation. 

Her story recently ran in several newspapers and radio stations. And today, Fox News did a short segment on District 103's beautiful act of kindness through the teacher sponsored Bone Marrow/Blood Donation Drive that went on this Saturday. Though I didn't get a chance to say it in the interview, I believe the bigger story to it all is that a community came together swiftly to answer the call of the hurting families in the district who were struggling with life altering diagnoses. A measly post on one blog site could never convey the immense amount of gratitude we feel toward everyone who has taken on our pain as their own. 

There have been many sleepless nights and we are probably consuming way more sugar than we should from the stress. Some days it hurts like a salted wound when I think about all that Ava physically goes through as she deals with the side effects of chemo. There are also times when I'm devastated by the possible outcomes of it all. But these feelings are pretty fluid. They can go away as easily as they come.

There is, however, one thing that seems universally constant in most cancer fighting families' lives and that emotion is loneliness. Ava expressed it today. And maybe it's appropriate to say that she especially feels this emotion throughout the day. Because even though we want to shelter her, we can only walk with her so far before we do not and cannot understand her journey any longer. 

"You know, mom. It's weird. I can be in a room full of people and still feel all alone," she said to me today while getting ready for church. Wow. To hear that from my child--the one whom I am responsible for protecting, not only her physical life but her emotional one, leaves me winded. How do you combat the loneliness a child feels from this terrifying disease?

The only way to attack loneliness is to be present. Ava is aware of your presence; that's for sure. Every email, card, phone call, post, text is a testament that she is not fighting by herself. Even though she might not yet understand the significance of a whole community rallying on her behalf, we will continue to teach her and remind her so that loneliness and fear might loosen their grips on her.

As for Mike and I, we have not felt that we have walked this alone. Of course there were times of loneliness as we navigated uncertain waters and found ourselves crossing boundaries we have never ventured past. But we always knew that we had an army of people beside us. 

So, although it can be lonely, we are never alone. And, we will never get tired of expressing our gratitude for that.

Thank you to all the staff in District 103 and Daniel Wright for hosting the drive. Thank you to my Half Day ladies (and EVERYONE who helped) for giving up your Saturday morning to "work it, work it." Thank you to the Stevenson Football players and Coach Brent for coming out and making "thank you" cards for all the people who donated. Thank you to Kathy Hart who supported the event by donating a pint of blood! Thank you to Pam Owens for organizing the event. Thank you to Joe White for publicizing it so that our story could be more widely circulated through the media. Thank you to my personal shopper (you know who you are) for all the moral support and late night chats to help me sort out my crazy emotions. Thank you to Patty who continues to spearhead so many things to help our family. Thank you to everyone who donated blood and/or committed to saving a life through becoming a bone marrow donor. Finally, thank you to God for seeing our family through this time and for truly teaching us that we are certainly never ever alone. For He is with us every step of the way.

(Did I just do a Grammy speech? Why, yes, I think I did.)

And finally, a big thank you to everyone that is reading this blog and faithfully praying for our family. You have given us the gifts of companionship and love by wearing our suffering and getting down on the floor with us in our broken-hearted mess.  

UPDATE on Ava's Treatment:
Ava will continue to receive the first full course of ALL treatment. She is scheduled to have a bone marrow aspirate on May 8th. Through this biopsy, doctors will be able to tell if her cancer has gone into remission. If her blasts are gone, we will continue with this therapy for the full two years. There is still talk of a Bone Marrow Transplant, especially if she is not in remission with the ALL treatment. If there are still remnants of cancer blasts, the doctors will most likely treat Ava with AML therapy and she will begin treatments right away. We are continuing to spread awareness on the need for more Asian donors in the national registry. It would be wonderful to find Ava a perfect match in the case that she needs a BMT. But, even if we don't, we know we are not working in vain because the more donors that are added to the registry, the better chances other patients will have to find a match! One of our biggest hopes is that we might help add many more donors to the registry so that, in the future, patients of ethnic backgrounds won't need to fight two battles at once: cancer and finding a marrow donor. Thank you for your help to this end!


Anonymous said...

We continue to pray for Ava and your family. Thank you for such a wonderful Grammy speech. GO AVA!! And... Baby doll... Your not alone. Xo

borabora said...

Thank you so much for your encouragement. We are truly blessed.