On October 26th, 2010, at 9 weeks old, Phoebe Rose was diagnosed with high risk MLL + Infantile Leukemia. On November 18th 2015 , she took her last breath. This is her story of hope and love in the face of cancer and despair. Phoebe always brought the joy and continues to inspire us to make a difference. It is best read from the beginning. Thank-you for visiting.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Welcome home Phoebe and Mae
We are finally home. I don't know if I have ever been as excited about anything as I was about coming home. After stopping by Sick Kids to say good bye to the wonderful staff on 8B, we headed east. The 5 hour drive from Toronto felt like an eternity, driving down the 401 in the hot afternoon sun, Mae and Phoebe squashed into the backseat of our very small car, and Mae asking about every 10 minutes if we are there yet. We finally pulled into our driveway, which had a beautiful welcome home message written in chalk by Phoebe's cousins, and we were met by their smiling faces. The excitement proved to be contagious as it was giggles and smiles all around for the duration of the welcome. We had been telling Mae throughout the drive about a "special surprise" that would waiting for her at home. Now affectionately named "Mae and Phoebe's Park" - a play structure in the backyard was another source of smiles and enjoyment for Mae. She woke up bright and early this morning, and asked if she could go out to see the park in her backyard. So wonderful to be home.
After discovering the play structure, we ventured inside the house. Many people have been hard at work, getting our house ready for Phoebe's homecoming. Because Phoebe's immune system is still weak and will take many, many months to fully recover, our house has to be clean, dry and safe for her to come home to. We are so very thankful to everyone who helped to make this possible for us. Flowers were planted, the garden was weeded, the roof was fixed, floors and windows cleaned, trim and cupboards painted, everything dusted, organized, and sanitized. The house sparkled from top to bottom, and downstairs, our basement renovation was more wonderful than we could have ever imagined. A beautiful, dry and safe space for Phoebe and Mae to play in. Mae was so excited to be back in her house that she immediately went in search of her babies and her many stuffed toys. Thanking her cousin Olivia for looking after them while she was away, together and inseparable they both wrapped them in blankets and put them to bed throughout the house. Later in the evening Mae refused to go to bed before she checked on all of her various babies and stuffed animals to make sure that they were properly blanketed, fed, and settled for the night. Needless to say, she was pretty late getting to bed.
Phoebe was also happy to home, but took a little while to adjust to the heat. We don't have air conditioning and the house was a bit hot. Phoebe's Uncle whipped up some delicious and refreshing strawberry milkshakes, and to our surprise, Phoebe pulled the glass to her mouth and started to try to drink. Because she doesn't have very much experience drinking from a cup, this involved her dipping her tongue into the shake, and eager to drink some more, she started trying to bite the cup. Although Phoebe has been making progress eating solids, this is one of the first times that she didn't forcibly push the cup away from her face when we presented her with something to drink. We have tried pretty much every thing, except of course, a strawberry shake.
Today, with one day home under our belts, the smiles are still frequent and contagious. Tonight Phoebe experienced her very first thunder storm. We sat in the shelter of the porch and watched as the storm grew strength. She loved it and kicked her legs and squealed in delight at the sound of the thunder and the sensation of the cool, wet breeze on her face.
We are so happy to be home and look forward to experiencing many more firsts with Phoebe and Mae. And now that we know that Phoebe likes milkshakes, the possibilities are endless. Many nutritious and delicious foods can be whipped into a shake.