We were contacted several months back about speaking on the radio during a fundraiser for the Aflac Cancer Center (where Ruby stayed during her chemotherapy and where we visit monthly for appointments now). As scary as that sounded, I passed up an opportunity to do that during one of our longer stays at the hospital, and I regretted it, so I told the Care-A-Thon team "yes".
I put the date on the calendar, but didn't give it much thought because it was so far away. Then the team contacted us a few times in the last week to firm up details and verify our attendance. Last night I thought through some of the potential things that would come up in our conversation (we did not have a list of questions or topics to be prepared for), and I tried to prepare for how I would respond.
Here is the interview.
And here's what I planned to say:
When asked about the moment of Ruby's diagnosis, I planned to say that it wasn't hard. Ruby's diagnosis at birth was hard, because of our ignorance to T21. God used that initial diagnosis to make everything else that we've faced since then 'no big deal'. We had some tears, but God used Ruby's cancer to show us just how strong and capable this girl is, because her first diagnosis found us fearing she would not be either strong or capable. Cancer is shocking, but it's all relative, and we were blessed to not be blindsided by it because we already knew that kids with Down syndrome are more likely to get leukemia than other kids. That being said, we are so blessed that our pediatrician insisted on routine blood tests because even after Ruby was diagnosed, she wasn't symptomatic, so without that test, she could have gotten much sicker before we started treating her.
But we were so fortunate that this happened in the age of technology where the kids
could see Ruby on Facetime each night, and Lehr and I could see each
other over breakfast each morning. And we were incredibly grateful for
the friends that took care of our older kids while I was living at AFLAC
with Ruby. So many people stepped up in so many amazing ways...we couldn't have done it without them. And the big kids got to attend Camp Sunshine for a sibling camp, and they got to spend more one-on-one time with each Lehr and I as we traded off, so there were silver linings everywhere for them too.
When asked how Ruby is now, I planned to say that she is stronger than ever. God used Ruby's cancer and our time at the hospital to pull us closer to Him and remind us that He has us. Ruby has completed her treatment and is back to being a toddler who runs and yells and gets into everything.
So I didn't say half of that, but Ruby charmed the room, and she babbled on-air, and Lehr and I hopefully got to pass along a success story related to a place that doesn't always get to celebrate those.