September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

In honor of childhood cancer awareness month,

Do you really know what children with cancer have to go through?

My little, seven year old baby has to get her arm pricked at each clinic visit (which is now once every 28 days, but during the height of treatment, it was every 7-10 days). Her arms now have so much scar tissue on her inner-elbows that on occasion, the needle moves when they put it in and they have to poke her multiple times.

She gets spinal taps on a routine basis which means they lay her in the fetal position on her left side and stick a needle into her spinal column and inject chemotherapy medicines directly into her spine.

Her port is in the exact center of chest around her breastbone. She is poked there (sometimes more than once) to get the needle in just the right spot. They have to get blood return from the port to make it work and sometimes, depending on the day, it just does not want to cooperate which makes for more medications, more pokes, and a longer time at the clinic.

Not to mention the emotional aspect of it all…Bella loves being the center of attention (as I’m sure most of you have seen from her videos), and she is really good about putting on a brave face for her fans , but it is still a scary ordeal to go through. She is on Prozac every day which helps (she has severe anxiety and night-terrors from all of her medical ordeals still, but they are improving).

My baby’s body is covered in scars (her port scar in the center of her chest, two chest tube scars: 1 on either side of her body (under her armpit area), 1 under her chin from the tape from her ventilator tube (to hold it in place), her elbows are permanently purple and rough to the touch from all the blood draws, her fingers are numb from blood draws, and she has stretchmarks on her hips, thighs, and stomach from the SUB-Q air that accumulated during her intubation and last PICU stay. But despite it all, she remains optimistic. She keeps a positive attitude. She keeps smiling. Does she have bad days? Yes. Does she have days where she doesn’t want to go to clinic or doesn’t want to take her pills? Of course. She’s 7. She’s a child. She has said before “Mom, I don’t think kids are supposed to take pills.” And she’s right. They’re not.

Every childhood cancer story is different. Some of these kids have to get bone marrow biopsies, some have to have transplants, some have to have tumors or even limbs or organs removed, some end up in the hospital for months like my Bella-boo did, and some even lose their lives.

These children truly are remarkable. They face what is thrown at them with such dignity and grace.

My daughter is one of the many faces of childhood cancer. And the cancer, and the treatment of it, has given her many “faces” (changed her appearance in so many ways) but she is still the sassy, fighter everyone on Facebook has come to know and love.

If you are able to, please donate to the CURE Childhood Cancer organization today. Do it in honor of Bella; in honor of one of your family members; in honor of all the other fighters out there; in honor of all the fighters who lost their battles and their families. Spread awareness for childhood cancer. It is ugly. It is scary. It steals pieces of our children away and many lose their life to this monster. Let’s find a cure!!!! https://www.givedirect.org/give/givefrm.asp?CID=2037

How much chemotherapy treatment(s) and cancer has changed my baby girl’s appearance:

bell 03-18-14 03-22-14-1 03-25-14 04-21-14 05-06-14-3 05-08-14-5 05-09-14 30

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