Yes, you read that right. That's apparently how leukemia treatment works, when it works really well. Peach is in remission a little over four weeks after she was diagnosed. Amazing. Now comes the hard part.
The thing is, I can talk about all of this all day long (and I do, sometimes), and I can hear the words "cancer" and "chemotherapy" and "Peach" all in the same sentence, and still. STILL. There is a little part of me that can't believe, won't believe, this has happened. A little part that is just sure the next time we go to the clinic or talk to the doctor, the jig will be up, and they will know we've blown this whole thing out of proportion. When T-Bone was shaving her head the other night, I actually thought to myself, "Oh, here we're doing all of this, and it isn't really even necessary. It's all just a big mistake."
I know that "little part" is named Denial, I know. And try as it might, Denial's voice is very small and has absolutely NOT kept me from forging full-steam ahead on the treatment plan from Day One. But I do think Denial has kept me from losing my ever-loving mind at times because I have decided this: If a parent in this situation ever completely processed what was happening, they would be rendered useless. It's just too huge to fully comprehend and still be able to function. There's a disconnect in there somewhere. The first thing I said to the doctor when she gave us the diagnosis was, "Are you sure? Because I really feel like you're talking to someone else." And I still feel like that.
But she was sure, and she was talking to us, and now, it's been four weeks, and the leukemia cells are gone. The problem is, they have a habit of not staying gone, so now we begin six months of IV and spinal chemotherapy, followed by two years of maintenance therapy, during which Peach will take oral chemotherapy and have regular visits to the clinic. She should be able to return to school in the fall, and her hair will start coming back once she's through with the harder IV meds. She's tolerated everything really well so far, and the main thing we have to watch out for is any type of infection. We're lucky that she and Olive both are normally very healthy kids, without any chronic health issues (allergies, asthma, etc.) to manage on top of treatment. We have every confidence in her doctors and the facilities here, and we are surrounded by loving family and friends. We are truly blessed in many ways.
The biggest blessing of all? Peach. At diagnosis, I told the doctor that we had to fix this because Peach has many great things to do and anyone that knows her would say that she is a special, special little girl. And she continues to prove me right every day. She is confident, engaged, and actively participating in her treatment. She knows she will be cured but will have to fight to get there, and she proceeds as the thoughtful, quiet warrior that she is. How lucky I am to be her mother. I am amazed by her courage and happily bear witness to her incredible grace. And while I have my quiet moments of doubt, I am buoyed by a strength that is not my own, and I have never seen more clearly that God is good.