Guest Blogger: Savanna’s mom, Kelly

Imagine having your children in the hospital at the same time. Eight-year-old Savanna was in the bone marrow unit fighting for her life while her 11-year-old brother was in the bed next to her saving it. He was her bone marrow donor. Mom, Kelly, shares her journal entry from that day. This is the fourth in our series during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

     October 27, 2014: It’s 5 a.m., maybe a little earlier, when my husband started texting to me. I have been waking up without him by my side more often than not these days. Asher, our son, is awake and they are getting ready to make their way to the hospital. Today is a big day for Asher. Today, our 11-year-old son is showing unconditional love to help save his 8-year-old sister’s life. Asher elected to donate his bone marrow when tests determined he was her match. Doctors diagnosed Savanna with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) five months ago. I’ve been with Savanna in the bone marrow unit at MCV since then. Savanna finished a week of high doses of chemo and radiation to prepare her body for the healthy, cancer-free bone marrow from her brother.

     This early morning, Asher went under general anesthesia and had a breathing tube placed in his airway. Once asleep, the doctors pierced his bone with large needles (he hates needles). Dad and I were in the pediatric waiting room with the kids’ grandparents. We wait for news; our stomachs in knots.

     My phone buzzes. It’s my brother texting me from the other side of MCV. He and Savanna want to check on Asher. I thank my brother for staying with Savanna. I thank Savanna for being so brave to let mommy and daddy be with Asher while he is in surgery. Right now, Savanna is weak and pale. Her immune system is non-existent. I think about how fragile she is. My stomach is in knots again. 

     Both my children are in the same hospital, in different units. This is a moment I thought would never happen to my family. I miss our safe bubble. The doctor comes out with an update. Asher tolerated the procedure well. He still has his breathing tube. They took his bone marrow to the lab to be processed.

     We finally see Asher. We text Savanna pictures of Asher giving her the “thumbs up.” I was touched that Connor’s Heroes made Asher feel special like they did for Savanna throughout her treatment.  Fran bought him a balloon and a certificate in his honor. I have two heroes in my family.

     Before Asher is released from recovery, we receive the call that his bone marrow is ready for Savanna’s transfusion! Everyone hustles to get Asher a bed in Savanna’s room. Asher watches his sister get the infusion of his bone marrow that will save her life. Stress, fear, anxiety, awe, joy, gratitude. Love in its purest forms. All felt in the same day. My family is together again.