The day our world fell apart

April 9, 2006. That was the day our world fell apart. The day those awful words, “Your daughter has cancer,” were delivered to us.

Our daughter had turned three two days before, and despite her complaining of a backache and a scratchy throat for a couple of weeks, we’d had a great celebratory weekend. We’d been to the pediatrician and urgent care several times with her symptoms, only to be assured that she had pulled a muscle and had seasonal allergies. The day after her birthday party, her symptoms seemed worse and my wife showed up at the pediatrician’s office demanding further tests. She collected me from work on the way to get our daughter’s blood draw and a chest x-ray. I was there when the radiologist came out, face white as a sheet, and told us to go back to the pediatrician immediately. I was there when the pediatrician looked at the x-ray film and went silent, her face the same color as the radiologist’s. I still see those faces three years later.

We were admitted to the local university hospital that night with an emergency CT scan at 2am. The diagnosis came at 7am the next day by a pathology [...] continue the story