One year ago today we were sitting in a small conference room with Olivia’s neuro-oncologist to go over the results of her brain MRI. We were holding our breath… waiting… hoping that we would receive good news that she was still cancer free despite the return of seizures and sleepiness.
But that day our prayers weren’t answered the way we had hoped. Instead, we learned that Olivia’s cancer had returned with a vengeance. Her tumor was once again taking over her brain and was even bigger than the first time. Our hearts sank. We screamed and cried and tried to listen as her doctor told us that we could choose whether or not we wanted to try and treat her cancer this time or simply enjoy what time we have left. He explained that there were a few options but that most recurrences of her type of cancer lead to an ultimate terminal diagnosis. Our hearts were broken! I remember holding Olivia and screaming “not my baby!” How could we have to go through this again? Hadn’t our sweet girl already suffered more than enough?
Despite our sadness and shock we knew that we weren’t going to give up on her. We decided to go ahead and try treatment again. So we went home for a few days and then returned to Denver to begin the process of a port surgery, spinal tap and chemo all over again.
The afternoon before Olivia’s surgery to put her port back in we took her and Wyatt to the zoo. It was the most fun she was ever able to have at the zoo. She loved looking at the monkeys and she was a huge fan of the ice cream she got to share with mommy. She was happy that day.
We all endured as Olivia received chemo for 4 more months and went through many more MRI’s and hospitalizations before we received the devastating news that our little girl wasn’t going to be a survivor. And then she passed away in our arms on October 22, 2013. She was only 20 months and 3 days old.
Today, it’s been 7.5 months since we said goodbye and not a day goes by that we don’t miss her like crazy. Time doesn’t heal all wounds. Losing a child is like a dagger to your heart that never really comes out. We wish so much we could just have one more day with her. Even a minute. Just to be able to see her face again and hold her. Instead we have to hang on and remember that one day we will be reunited again in our Heavenly Home.
Olivia Caldwell Foundation is a pending 501c3 nonprofit that raises money for pediatric brain cancer research. All proceeds benefit the neuro-oncology research team at Children’s Hospital Colorado. You can learn more and donate by visiting our website at www.oliviacaldwellfoundation.org.