It isn’t just one person who goes through cancer, it’s the whole family. It affects us all. It tore me up and still tears my up having to see my family watch me suffer. Be in pain, not feeling well, throwing up, not seeing me weeks on end because I am in the hospital. It hurts. When I was first diagnosed my brother was in kindergarten and had half days. We would make the appointment late enough for him to come. He hated and still hates to see me poked and accessed. When he went to first grade, which is all day, it was hard on him. He knew when I would be going the clinic and would break down in class. He had an amazing teacher who would take him away and let him know everything will be okay an just comfort him. Eversince I finished treatment June 9, 2015 he always asks if my cancer is back. He is so worried. My sister was in fifth grade when I was diagnosed. After we found out, she was walking to school one day and she asked God, “Why?” She said God said that I am the toughest one to handle this and would bring our family closer. A couple kids said mean things about me having cancer which really hurt her. She was now missing her big sister because I was in the hospital for about a week or so. My dad had just started a new job. How amazing they were to let him take time off to be with his family. He was now our provider and was so strong for us. My heart hurts for all the other families also. My moms job let her take a leave to take care of me. She then went back a couple weeks after I was home from the hospital. It was a lot having both parents working and getting to appointments so my dad told her to stay home and take care of me and my siblings.
It was so hard on all of them and I know it. Having to see their baby girl, daughter, big sister going through this. Cancer affects everyone. We all come together and cry with each other and talk with each other if we need it. We pray together. We are a family! An we are here for each other no matter what in any situation.
Last week I started having a sore throat and it has now turned into something worse. My immune system isn’t fully restored so we went into the clinic.
Yesterday, I came in to Children Specialty Center due to having an extreme sore throat (I could barely talk), my body was hurting all over and was very weak (I could barely stand; I needed help standing and walking), nasal congestion/runny nose/drainage, and woozy feeling. They took me back immediately. As soon as I got in the room, my mother helped me on the bed and I curled up and closed my eyes. I was feeling so sick. Grace and Arlene came in and made me smile.
Grace said, “A lot of children (from the clinic) going back to school or have siblings going to school are coming in sick.” Then, I seen the doctor. She ordered that I get a bag of fluids with an antibiotic. I also got morphine because we rushed out of the house before I was able to take my medicine. My pain was a 10. Nurse Mary and Dr. Rashid also said to stay hydrated. The doctor wrote prescriptions for antibiotics, pain medicine for my sinus headaches, and for my raised heavy medication.
When we left, my mom and I stopped to get something to eat and then came straight home. I grabbed my food, thanked my mom and went straight to my room. I ate and dozed off and slept for a couple hours. I was extremely exhausted.
Today I got up and took a shower to make myself feel better. I started my antibiotics and pain medicine last night. I feel a bit better. I am resting staying hydrated as ordered and keeping on my regimen of medicine. Thank you to all my prayer warrior for your continuous prayers. Thank you to my doctors and nurses for getting me medication. Most of all, Thank you to God and my family for being by my side and taking care of me and praying over me.
I am officially a freshman in high school! My first two weeks of school were amazing! My teachers are so amazing and kind.
The classes I take Geometry Honors, Biology Honors, Study Skills and English Honors. I believe honors classes challenge you more and I can keep up and learn new things. I also take Spanish 1, Choir Beg. (also known as Glee Club), Fashion 1 (I love creating and picking fashion styles that fit my personality) and History of Pop Music.
I have made lots of new friends and have seen some people I went to school with the previous year and someone from church. At first, I was nervous about starting high school because it’s a totally new thing. New layout, new people, and it is a lot bigger than middle school.
This year I refuse to let Cancer take over my ability to be in school and learning! I want to and will attend school for the whole year with minimal days missed. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for me this school year!
August 11 – 15 my siblings and I attended Camp Independent Firefly, thanks to Candlelighters! We drove up to Big Bear, such a beautiful place! (Picture: Me, My Sister, My Brother and his friend.)
This year was my sister and I’s second time and my brother first. We were known by our camp names. Me – Sweet Cheeks, my sister – Rose Blossom and my brother – Dino Jr. The YMCA staff and counselors were so inviting! As the buses drove up the drive way the sprayed them with water guns. We were greeted with excited screams and lots of beautiful and inviting smiles.
All of cabins were decorated in different Loony Toons theme and Disney and Pixar Movie themes. My cabin was Inside Out, my sisters was Lilo & Stitch, and my brothers was The Smurfs.
We had a game night, we went zip lining, we also played Alpha Wolf, Catch the Cartoon at night and so much more! One of my favorites we did was, The Leap of Faith, where you climb up a tree and jump off a small ledge and try to catch a bar. Some people try to do push ups while on the bar others act like they are angelic angels as the are brought down.
On our last day we had a dance/party! Chet Buchanan was there and a DJ. There were was a photo booth for all of us to capture the memories of 2015 Camp Independent Firefly. Popcorn, Cotton Candy and Snow Cones were some of the snacks there. Chet played a video made by the camera and video crew of all of the fun we had at camp and all of the memories.
I was so happy to see my siblings smiling and having so much fun! I want to thank Candlelighters and the YMCA staff for giving all of us an amazing experience. You guys gave us an experience we will never forget. A chance to forget and diseases, disorders, and illnesses that are going on in our lives. I can’t wait until next year!
A group photo of the whole camp!
My monster, it’s not like any other
It doesn’t hide under my bed
Or in my closet
It hides somewhere much worse
You would never guess
It’s in my body finding places to hid and making me sick
Its’ name is Childhood Cancer
I battle everyday day to rid my body of my monster
Praying one day it will be gone for good.
I battled cancer, ALL Leukemia, for two and a half years. It was the hardest thing I have ever been through!
The chemo and steroids did have minor side effects. For example, mouth sores, mood swings and being nauseous, etc. But, there are long term side effects that I have even after I finished chemo. From the steroids I now have a vascular necrosis in both knees and my left shoulder. My shoulder is collapsed. My only options are leave the shoulder as is or do the shoulder replacement and use the smallest one possible.
Lately, I have been in constant unbearable pain and nothing helps. I am on heaving medication and that isn’t helping. I can’t sleep and my pain is 10/10 all of the time.
A couple weeks ago I went to my clinic, Children’s Specialty Center (CSC), for an infusion. The infusion is to stop any further deterioration of my bones. It was a three day infusion over four hours. I am praying it works. If it does I will get it every four months.
I know God has plans for me and I will keep standing in my faith, trusting in his plan. God is my healer and I will cry out to him in my pain because I know he will heal me. Please pray for me. There is power in prayer.
This past week my family and I went on vacation. It was nice not having to worry about cancer and just enjoy ourselves. God has blessed us with a trip to Disneyland from my church, Valley Bible Fellowship. I am beyond grateful!
We spent a couple days in Vegas on the strip. We went to the new chocolate shop, HEXX, and got bags of chocolate and candy. We also went to Guy Fierri’s Restaurant which is amazing and has delicious food! We also went to the Bellagio to see the “Under the Sea” theme flowers. On our last day, we spent the day at the pool. We got a cabana. My aunt from Ohio called my dad and said she was passing through Vegas and we could see our cousins. My cousins came to our hotel and swam with us all day and then spent the night at our hotel. I was so excited to see them we haven’t seen them in 4-5 years.
We left early that morning and arrived in California that afternoon. We decided to start our day with lunch at Denny’s.
We then went to get our park tickets. We would be going to Disneyland that day and California Adventure the next. None of us had been to Disneyland before. We watched fireworks and the show at the castle. It was their 60th anniversary. We went on a few rides too.
The next day we headed to California Adventure. First went to get our fast pass for the Cars Ride. The ride that was on the top of our list! We then headed to the Hotel Tower of Terror. My sister and I rode that ride and it was scarier than I thought. I love roller coasters but the video and the unexpected up and down scared us. After that we walked through the Bugs Land and road all those rides. It was so much fun! Then came the driving lesson with Autopia! It was so funny my dad didn’t know my sister was in front of him and my brother. He kept thinking, “Who is that driving so badly”! We also went and seen a couple shows and took pictures with Elsa & Anna.
Finally, it was time for the Cars Land ride! My brothers dream came true, we got to ride in the Lightning McQueen car! The ride took us through the town and pulled up next to another car and said, “Let’s Go Racing”! My dad doesn’t like roller coasters so the hills and riding on the wall freaked him out. We won the race though!
We finished our night off with ice cream and the Rain Forest Cafe for my sisters 13th birthday. How time flies!
It was so nice seeing my family smiling and laughing. Having such an amazing time! I am so blessed with the people I love!
Last week, Wednesday, I went to see a specialist about my shoulder and replacing it.
While I was on chemo I was also taking steroids as a part of my treatment. Which caused bone necrosis in my left shoulder and both knees. My shoulder has now collapsed and is no longer there. It causes me extreme amounts of pain. Because my shoulder is so bad my options are very limited. Dr. Kam basically told my parents and I that I have two options: 1. Leave the shoulder as it is. Or 2. Do the shoulder replacement and use the smallest replacement. We definitely want to go with the replacement but. neither have that great of an outcome.
He said, “Kids think oh well my arm is better so I can go an play baseball or something. Because kids are more active their replacements wear out quickly.”
He then asked my hobbies which are writing, reading, art, crocheting, blogging, and much more. Dr. Cam told me those are good hobbies because my arm won’t be moving in crazy ways that will wear it out easy. He does want to give me some range of motion back which right now I have close to non.
I shared my concern of being worried about how long the replacement will last. He responded, “That is a good worry to have. It tells me that you will take care of your shoulder after surgery.”
My growth plate is still open and Dr. Kam said as soon as they close he can do the surgery. About 3 months maybe longer, it is almost closed though. He will have a mature bone so during surgery he can treat my shoulder like an adult bone.
He showed us the replacement. It will have a really short stem that will go down in the bone and a round head that sits where the dead bone was. The surgery will be about an hour and a half. I will be in the hospital for two days and he will stitch it up on the inside so I can take a shower when I get home. I will wear a sling to protect the Rotator Cuff because he has to cut through it to put the replacement in. Recovery will be about six to eight months.
It is hard to hearing all of this news. I am almost 15 and I shouldn’t be dealing with this. God didn’t bring me this far to leave me now. I continue you to have faith in him and it will not waiver.
This past week I went to Disneyland.
A friend of mine, Gabriele, asked me to stop by a flower bed where she spread her daughters ashes. She lost her daughter, Leah, to brain cancer. Leah loved going to Disneyland, the Little Mermaid, Ariel and her mom. Leah was her moms little mermaid, her sunshine. Her smile could light up a room. Although I didn’t know her personally she will always hold a special place in my heart and her beautiful mother will too. Gabriele is so strong. An so was her beautiful baby girl. While I was at Disneyland I could feel Leah’s beautiful spirit. I miss her dearly and so does her mother, very much.
Whenever you see a rainbow just remember it is a hello from the beautiful warrior princess Leah. Smiling down from heaven.
June 9, 2015 I went into the clinic for Pentamidine. I am now cancer free as of then.
As my nurse Jeramy finished accessing me and giving me my pre medication, Pastor Doug and Doc Jones walked in. I was extremely surprised! My mom had been out of the room talking with them . I didn’t suspect anything though because, it is usual for her to leave the room and go see other families at the clinic. When she walked in with them I had no ideal what was going on. They then presented my whole family and I with tickets to Disneyland and a one night stay at the Disney hotel! I was so speechless all I could do was smile.
With all my family and I have been through we deserve it. When we do activities we do them together, never separate. If one of my family members or I aren’t feeling well we don’t do anything at all. Because of the side affects from the chemo not going out was often.
I am so appreciative to my church – Valley Bible Fellowship and the Plus one project for doing this for my family and I. We need to just have a fun day to smile, have fun, and not think about cancer. Thank you to my wonderful church and the people who God put on their heart to help us.
Mickey Mouse and the Gang is calling. Hopefully off to Disneyland soon.
Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10SjNKEzjzk&feature=youtu.be Video is on youtube under Vegas Church, Plus One Minisry – Alyssa Smith