August 16, 2012. It’s 9:30 a.m. and I’m driving across New York City trying to get to my office on 45th and 3rd while dialing my 3-year-old daughter Natalie’s pediatrician. Stopped at a red light in Times Square, I see the officer’s lights flip on behind me. Crap! I quickly hang up the phone after having left a message. But it’s too late. The officer issues me a $200 ticket for being on my phone while driving, and nope, it didn’t help when I explained to the officer that my daughter was sick, that I was worried, and I was simply trying to get a hold of her doctor.
That should have been my first indication that I was about to have a very bad day (a complete understatement).
Fast forward about four hours and there we are, Natalie and I, sitting in a quiet room in the ER of Hackensack Medical Center, eagerly waiting to find out what the hell is going on. Feeling something wet dripping down my arm, I gently shifted a sleepy Natalie over to my other shoulder ready to wipe off a little drool. To my complete shock and horror it wasn’t drool at all, but rather a small stream of blood seeping from Natalie’s right eye as well as from her nose. Before I could hit the call button, in walked a small group of people, one of whom was the doctor who had initially examined Natalie upon our arrival. She had tears in her eyes.
Please consider contributing a dollar (or more) to help us make Natalie’s birthday wish come true. You can donate online or write a check made payable to “Arms Wide Open/The Truth 365” and mail it to:
P.O. Box 4064
Middletown, NJ 07748
C/O: Andrea Verdone Gorsegner/Infinite Love for Natalie Grace
When the first person was introduced as the social worker, that was it—I instantly started to feel myself welling up with tears as I held Natalie tighter, asking them, “What is wrong with my baby?” The doctor simply replied, “Your daughter has high-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia.” Cancer.
That moment is one I’ll remember for a lifetime.
Now here we are, a little over a year later, and we’re one of the fortunate families battling this hideous disease who have the luxury of a cancer-free date: Natalie’s is November 2014. Although it has been a difficult year, to say the least—weekly (often times more) clinic visits for chemotherapy, lots of platelet and blood transfusions, and far too many hospital and ER stays—we’re through the worst of it, and as of the end of June, Natalie has officially entered the maintenance portion of her treatment. This, in a nutshell, means that in addition to her daily oral chemo medications, she only needs to be in clinic for IV chemotherapy and spinal taps/chemotherapy once a month. So compared to what we were doing, not to mention what some of our other fellow cancer warrior families go through, we are on “vacation” (well, not exactly, but you get what I’m saying).
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