March 24,1998 was my due date for Jordyn. From the first moment I found out I was pg with her they gave me a March 24 due date. I had ultrasounds and it always gave the same date...March 24. March 24 came and went and Jordyn wasn't born until for 6 more days. Fastforward a year. Jordyn and I join Chad in Germany. He'd been to Bosnia and was finally back, got us housing and we landed in Germany on Jordyn's 7 month birthday. We hadn't seen Chad since Jordyn was 7 weeks old. We'd definately missed him. Life was good, our family was once again together just as it should be. I took Jordyn in for her 12 month check up 7 days before her birthday and the dr told me that it sounded like Jordyn was developing croup and said "Don't worry, she can't die from it". I was a naive 22 yr old mother who hadn't ever heard of croup. Jordyn's breathing wasn't too bad that day, but the next day March 24 her breathing kept getting worse, but about 7 pm her breathing was getting bad and I was getting worried so we drove her to Landstuhl. Chad was parking the car and I ran her into the standing room only ER and the nurse listened to her for just a second and rushed us to a room, while she's yelling at me saying "don't you know your baby could die from this". I was crying and said "but the dr said she couldn't". Everyone stopped and the nurse calmed down and apologized and told me that Jordyn's windpipes were swollen closed 75%, and that if they didn't get them opened she could stop breathing. The gave her a shot of a steriod and the dr ordered for a CBC to be done (which is NOT what they normally do for croup). Before midnight they came in and told us that Jordyn had leukemia. We felt like the world was crashing down upon us. How could our little girl who was seemingly perfectly healthy except for a case of croup have cancer? The dr told us that there were 2 types she could have ALL leukemia (which is the most common form in children) or AML (most common in adults over the age of 60). He told us to PRAY for ALL. He told us we'd be flying to Walter Reed the next morning so we needed to try and get as many loose ends tied up as quickly as possible. We called a friend of ours to take care of our dogs and cat and check on our housing until we could get everything figured out. Chad called his company and told them what was going on and they were working on a couple different Special power of attorney's so our friend could ship our animals and get all our household goods and car packed up and shipped. We called our family in the states and told them the news. The night feels almost like a blur in ways, yet I feel like I can still remember every detail. It was all in slow motion yet speeding by so quickly at the same time. Jordyn was getting breathing treatments all night long. They wanted her to stay in a tent covering the bed and she was so scared and was having none of it, so her peditrician let us hold her and just hold the breathing treatment up to her face. While one of us held her and slept the other held the mask, then after a while we'd switch. At some point her ped came in and said we weren't going to fly to Walter Reed immediately, but instead would be going to a German hospital in Homburg (not Hamburg), which is about 20-30 minutes from Landstuhl. We called our families again and told them the change of plans, then before we knew it Jordyn and I were loaded into the ambulance with me holding her and both of us strapped down. Chad followed in our car. That day her new ped. Oncologist came in and told us that Jordyn unfortunately had AML leukemia and would definately need a bone marrow transplant down the road. I don't remember a lot of those first few days in Homburg University Hospital. Jordyn had developed pneumonia, she was literally fighting for her life, she was so sick. A lot of friends were in and out. The ones I clearly remember are Chad's Commander and his wife and baby boy. Their baby obviously couldn't come in, so they each came in seperately. When Matt walked in he just broke down sobbing. Just two nights before this we'd all been at Ramstein (Airforce Base) rollerskating, including Jordyn, and now here she was with all kinds of wires stuck to her, in her,and at the time he came in she was getting a breathing treatment, and she was so weak and pale. He just kept crying and saying how horrible he felt. His wife, Audrey came in and I know she cried, but not like Matt. Matt told me that what ever we needed from the company just to let him know and he'd make it happen. He told me one of the best lessons I've ever learned in the Army. If we needed something for me to call and request it, because I didn't have to go through the chain of command and keep my military barings, like Chad would have to...that if there was any issue just to call and there's nothing they can do to Chad! (I've used that knowledge a few times, most the times keeping my own barings, but there's been a few times where I've lost it..rightly so though!) We really didn't have any issue's though, the whole battalion was great and the community in general was wonderful, very supportive and caring.
It was the beginning of the last 14 months we'd have with Jordyn. Although I'm sure many think it wasn't actually all horrible. We had great Faith in God and today I have no doubts where Jordyn is. She's in Heaven with our Savior, Jesus Christ. I know she's no longer in pain, no longer having to fight to live. She's free to be healthy and happy.
I wouldn't trade those 14 months. They were some of the hardest, but some of the best months of my life. I got to see how much strength and determination my daughter had. She showed me that kids are far stronger than adults. If you visit a children's oncology unit and visit an adult one, you'd see a vast difference. We would have to sometimes go up to the 7th floor oncology unit (adults) and it was such a different atmosphere. 5th floor the kids are smiling, laughing, LIVING. Upstairs they're complaining, moaning and groaning and it feels like more are dying than trying to live.
One thing Jordyn's German oncologist told us when she first started chemo and she didn't immediately get sick was that a big portion of getting physically sick from chemo and radiation is in our minds. We "know" we're supposed to get sick from it, so we do. Kids don't know they're supposed to get sick so quite often it takes them longer. The younger they are, the longer it takes. As adults we see people in our lives with cancer, hear about the horrors of chemo and radiation side effects, we see it on tv and movies, etc. With kids they don't know that or see it. So although they don't feel good, they're more likely to just play and do kid things.
Anyways...so today we mark 8 yrs since our world changed. We learned that day that tomorrow is not promised for any of us. That even our children are not guarenteed to live. Without Jesus our family would have no hope. Because of Jesus though, I know that one day I'll see my little girl again. I know that she's healthy in Heaven. That she's happy. Her work is done. I don't believe she's an actual Angel. Angels have jobs to do, her job was done May 8, 2000. I don't believe she "watches over us", she's done her job. I miss her more than any of you could ever imagine. Our family will never been fully complete because she is gone, but I have peace in my heart and mind.
If you want to do something to save another family from going through the heartache we have support childhood cancer organizations (NOT The American Cancer Society..they DO not support Childhood Cancer..they only give 1% of their profits to CC, but they have NO problems USING the children for their properganda). There's Curesearch (www.curesearch.org), there's St.Baldrick's (www.stbaldricks.org) they have annual head shaving fundraising events throughout the world you can shave your head or support someone who is! There's the leukemia-lymphoma society (google them). There are a lot of good organizations that give a great amount of their profits to finding a cure for CC.