One year ago today....

On social media, Thursdays have turned into #throwbackthursday, where people post photos or reminisce on old times.  Today, Thursday, was a bit bittersweet for us.  Exactly one year ago today on July 23, 2014, William and I got a call from the pediatrician's office telling us they had the chest x-ray results back for Elliott and they scheduled us for a 1pm visit with a pediatric cardiologist because it appeared he had a mass in his chest covering his heart.  I have to admit, William and I were not really nervous or worked up about the request.  Elliott had been having some congestion and difficulty breathing for about a month, so we were hoping to finally get some answers and some relief for him.  We picked up Elliott from daycare (yes... he was actually at daycare playing with friends), and rushed him down the highway to meet with the cardiologist.  Elliott missed his nap that day and was pretty fussy, but became even fussier when he had to lay flat on a table for the technician to complete an echocardiogram.  He was having difficulty breathing and it only got worse as the exam went on.  The technician completed the study as quickly as he could and then the cardiologist came to talk with us.  He told us he wasn't sure what he was seeing, but he needed to run further tests to confirm and rule some things out, so Elliott would need to be admitted to the hospital ASAP.  He then walked with us down to the emergency room and later up to the congenital heart unit (ICU).  We thought worse case scenario, Elliott had some sort of mass, would need to have surgery to remove it, and then we would go home.  In hindsight, that may have been easier to swallow.  

After a series of lab tests, we learned the next day on July 24, 2014, our daughter's third birthday, that Elliott had T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.  I have no idea what I felt at that moment.  I think my mind has fought to hide that memory from me.  We had no idea what to expect next, but here we are 365 days later and Elliott is doing amazingly well and adds such joy to our family.  What a blessing!!

I do remember that after hearing the news and going over some general information with the oncologists, William and I went across the street from the hospital to Chipotle to get lunch.  It was one of those moments that seemed so surreal.  I imagine we both looked like we had just been in a horrible accident.  We sat down and ate our rice bowls and both fought to hold back the tears. 

From the beginning, the oncologists took us step by step through the treatment process and told us about the success of this treatment protocol in treating leukemia.  I had full confidence in our doctors and in God that we would come out victorious and we have!

Elliott is still undergoing treatment, but he is in remission, lab tests reveal his body is responding well to the chemotherapy, he is back at school and getting a chance to "be a kid" again, and he is full of energy and life.  I was a bit nervous about him starting school and being exposed to new germs, but he is doing great and his immune system, while still compromised, is holding up well.  

We are so thankful for the countless prayers, phone calls, cards, text messages, flowers, food, gifts, and each gesture of love and support from so many people.  It really kept us encouraged and continues to do so today. 

I wanted to make this post tonight, because tomorrow and the rest of this weekend, we are going to focus on Laurel's 4th birthday and celebrating life!  This has been a rough year for the Cody family, but we so grateful and so blessed and are happy to share our joy with each of you. 

Elliott and Laurel are with my parents this week, so the first photo below is actually a few weeks old.  He has even more hair now and has put on a little more weight.  He has come such a long way!!

 Elliott: June 10, 2015

Elliott: June 10, 2015

Elliott: Day of diagnosis: July 24, 2014 (intubated, chest tube (to drain fluid around lungs), pericardial drain (to drain fluid around heart)...fully monitored.  While this photo is difficult to look at, seeing him struggle to breathe was much worse.