Talk about a week of ups and downs! Less than two hours after I published the last entry to this blog, we experienced quite possibly the scariest moment since this journey began.
By Friday morning (four days after her hospital release), Paige was finally starting to feel more like herself. Her energy was coming back, and she was ready to hang out with her grandma for a while. The timing was perfect--Paige could get out for a bit, and I could head up to my school for the first time in almost four months. They were hosting a barbecue fundraiser benefiting our family and that of another student recently diagnosed with leukemia.
Everything started out just fine. Paige was working on algebra notes and homework at my mom's house, and I was catching up with friends at work. About 30 minutes in to my school visit, I received a call from my mom letting me know that Paige's legs started feeling very heavy, and she was having trouble 'walking it out.' I decided to sign Jeremy out a little early so we could check on his sister. We've become accustomed to minor muscle issues after chemotherapy treatments, so I wasn't overly concerned at that point. That would soon change.
Once Jeremy and I were on our way, I called my mom to check on Paige. In a 10-minute span of time, she could no longer get to a standing position or raise her right arm. Just a few minutes later, her speech became so slurred it was a struggle to get one or two words out. I tried to remain calm (I did have Jeremy in the car with me, after all) and called her oncology nurses as I raced to my mom's house. The plan was to call 911 and have her transported to TCH as soon as possible--she was experiencing an extreme reaction to the previous week's chemotherapy.
Due to protocol of EMT services near my mom's house, we were unable to be taken directly to TCH. Instead, they took us to a closer hospital, where Paige would have to be stabilized before they would release her for transport to our home away from home. We remained in constant contact with Paige's regular doctors and nurses as she underwent an EKG, CT scan, and even an MRI to rule out the possibility of a stroke. A stroke. My 13-year-old daughter was experiencing symptoms that could be a stroke. This was just a bad dream, right?
When Paige's oncology doctor called to tell me she was sure this was a reaction to a procedure from the previous week, it eased my mind--a little. She assured me that we should see the symptoms fade over a short period of time. While I did my best to rationalize everything I was being told, the fact remained that I was still watching my daughter struggle to speak and move her body. Over the next few hours, the symptoms did begin to subside, and we were transported to TCH once a stroke was ruled out. As frightening as the situation was, we were so very thankful for the fact that Paige was alert and still able to communicate with us the entire time.
About five hours after the scare of our lives, Paige was resting comfortably at TCH, where she was admitted for rescue medications and monitoring. We saw significant improvements the next morning, and she was up walking the halls with a physical therapist later in the day. In less than 48 hours, we ran the gamut of emotions and prayed without ceasing. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that God was in control the whole time. He held Paige in one hand and held the rest of us up with the other. I know it wasn't my strength keeping me from turning into a puddle on the floor.
Tonight our family of four watched a movie together and will head to bed--under the same roof. We'd like to give the roller coaster a rest for a while.
So do not fear, for I am with you...I will strengthen and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10