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Olivia Mellen

With brave wings she flies! Leukemia won't keep Livi down!!

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One year since diagnosis....week 29 of 120!

Wow! What a year it has been!!! On Wednesday of this week it will have been one year since we were told the news we feared...that Olivia had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia...365 days, sometimes it still feels like yesterday and others it feels like we’ve been on this journey forever now. I’ve wondered, randomly, how we would treat this week, how myself and our family would feel about it and I am not sure anything could have prepared me for the mix of emotions going on! There are so many blessings we have received over the year in various forms from family, friends and strangers, the amazing work of St. Jude, that Olivia continues to be in remission, that relatively speaking she has handled most of all her treatment with minimal side effects and the list goes on. The anxiety (and probably some slight PTSD if I’m self diagnosing) kicks in when I realize that life is this weekend a lot like a year gearing up for another school year starting, winding down summer, going to my dads to swim...last year on the Sunday before school started back we were at my dads watching the twins swim and play and Olivia jumping off the rock in the pool and just like then we found ourselves back swimming the night before I go back to work except this time she is still swimming but not strong enough to jump off the rock or even walk well. Combining all of these flashbacks of last year with the “approval” for Olivia to start back at her babysitters house again has been a lot to manage for this momma this weekend! And yes, there are so many positives in all of that, which is where my emotions about it all get a little haywire. Of course we are beyond thankful that Olivia is doing well and that chemo continues to respond to her treatment, we are excited for her and Owen that she gets to return to her babysitter too but, if being honest I am also terrified!! Not because I don’t trust our amazing babysitter but because I don’t know what the other kids might come in with, because she basically hasn’t left my side in a year, because she can be kinda demanding and difficult at times and don’t what Tanya to have to deal with it, because if she catches something that can’t put us back in the hospital and because that’s where she was when she got a fever and I picked her up to go to her pediatrician to only be told hours later she had cancer. That was the last place our world seemed normal....everything since has been as a “cancer family”. When they aren’t asking me not to go back to work and stay home like our friends; Olivia and Owen are both so excited to get to go back to daycare together and I am also excited for them! I think it will help her get stronger and back to being more independent and I know it will be great for their bond that they so greatly missed last year but every time I think about it I feel like I’m suffocating a little! I definitely had an easier time dropping them off at 5 months old than I will this week. Pending her counts tomorrow we plan to ease them back in with half days Wed and Thursday and maybe all day Friday. Obviously we will all need lots of prayers around this! We have reached week 29!! Olivia had a pretty great week overall the last couple of weeks, minus some leg weakness and pain. She had an X-ray last week to make sure there was no fracture because she wouldn’t put weight on her leg but it came back fine and it is starting to feel better!! We are working on that though. The vincristine chemo, which she gets Monday, is really taking a toll on her strength but she is definitely determined! St. Jude has ordered her a tiny knee brace that should be in soon so we are hoping that will help! Her tummy issues also have greatly improved the last two weeks!! Praying they will continue after Monday’s chemo (the vincristine and dex seem to mess with her the most). We aren’t sure if Dr. Pui plans to give her the steroids this week or continue to hold them. She has been doing so well I am hoping he continues to hold them, but he knows best! Olivia is also starting to get some fuzz on her head! She tells us all the time it’s almost time for bows and a ponytail 😂😂 In addition to her chemo and possibility of steroids tomorrow she will also have another spinal tap chemo/bone marrow aspiration to ensure that she remains in remission. These are also always stressful for me and she has had a slight cold so her being put to sleep while congested stresses me a little more! Olivia is obviously WAY TOUGHER than her Momma because none of this seems to even phase her and she is definitely not scared about going back to daycare (we will see how drop off goes though)! I can’t believe next week we will be moving into the 30’s on our countdown....speaking of, I am not sure how I counted but I was way off on our end of treatment date.. it is not December of 2020 it’s April 26,2021! Opps! 91 weeks left!! Please continue to keep Olivia in your prayers and our family this week as we are a little more anxious than usual about her appointments this week! We wouldn’t have made it through the last year without everyone and their prayers and support! Thank you!! 

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