It happened eight years ago, but I remember that day as if it were yesterday. I was in Seattle Children’s Emergency Department with my daughter, Kara, looking at that first set of CT scans. My granddaughter, Schyler, was only 3 1/2 months old, and the growth on her brain was the size of a softball.
Nothing could have prepared me for the news that my first grandchild — the baby I’d longed to love and get to know — had a cancerous brain tumor.
My emotions swung wildly between hurting for my daughter and being terrified for Schyler. Those feelings lessened when I met Dr. Richard Ellenbogen, Schyler’s surgeon. He was calm and reassuring. He treated me like I had every right to be part of his conversations with Kara, and that meant the world to me.
The surgery was successful, and five days after being discharged, Kara took Schyler to Wal-Mart for baby pictures. With a little blanket draped over her head, she gave the photographer the biggest smile, as if to say, “Hey, I got my life back.”
Kara gave Dr. Ellenbogen a clock as thanks for Schyler’s life — a small token that can’t begin to repay him for the time we’ve had with “our angel.” He will always be our knight in shining armor. Sometimes when I watch Schyler play or hear her laugh, I think about the ordinary day eight years ago that turned into our worst nightmare, and I remember all the special people at Seattle Children’s who were there for us every step of the way. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
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