Thursday, February 12, 2009

Our 100th Post


This post marks the 100th post on Isabella's Fight.  I was contemplating what I could write about to make this any more special or significant, and ironically, the post will not be about Isabella, but about Julianne.

Very few of you actually see what goes on on a day-to-day basis, and although we try to paint a picture for you on this blog, it really doesn't capture everything.  One of the aspects that you don't see is how Julianne is dealing with the whole situation on a daily basis, and I know I won’t even come close to being able to describe everything that she’s done.  Yes, she had a couple of blog entries where she let loose emotionally, but not many of you have experienced her incredible strength first-hand like I have.  From that first night almost 3 months ago when we first found the tumor in Isabella's head, her fight-or-flight instinct switched over to fight mode and IMG_0640she broke off the switch.  I often tell Julianne that if I was dealing with Isabella by myself, she'd be dead because I just would not have known what to do during those first critical hours.  But Julianne was there, getting in the doctors and nurses faces, making sure that everything  that was being done was the right thing.  She had contacts in the medical field who suggested what we should do and where we should go.  And when we realized that Bridgeport wasn't the right place for us to be, there was no hesitation to get Isabella to where we needed to be.

IMG_9020When Julianne is at the hospital, she spends every minute tending to Isabella, making sure she's eating and drinking and getting the proper medications.  But once Isabella goes to sleep, Julianne jumps on the Internet to find articles and stories with the hope of finding something, anything that can cure Isabella.  She'll post questions on the support group forums or send e-mails to authors of articles requesting more information about a particular treatment they tried.  She'll contact the families of other survivors and get more information from them hoping to find something useful.  Once she finds some information, she'll pass them by Isabella's oncologist to get her opinion.  She won't get to sleep until 2-3am, then be up with Isabella first thing in the morning to continue caring for her. 

IMG_0601Unfortunately, Julianne's medical training can also be a curse.  She knows the statistics for pediatric brain cancers and their likely outcomes.  She didn't want to take a look at the initial MRIs because it would be too horrific - I looked at them and was happy I could make out the brain area.  She knows what the effects of such and such a medication are or the potential side effects of radiation.  She knows the risks of stem cell rescue and bone marrow extraction.  She knows what doctors mean when they say things in a particular way.  She's seen patients die.

And therein lies Julianne's biggest challenge.  Because in a way, Isabella is her most important patient ever, but first and foremost, Isabella is her child.  On a daily basis, she struggles with being a doctor and being a mother, and she does it amazingly well.  Yes, this blog is about Isabella and her fight against brain cancer, but it certainly wouldn't be complete without mentioning Julianne's complete and selfless dedication as she stands and fights right alongside her daughter.IMG_9072

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