My Warrior Princess Lia

Today is June 19th, 2015.  Writing this blog entry may span several days.  I’m not sure when I’ll publish it.

I’ve been offline for a while.  This is why.

Lia 11-0001

One of my favorite baby pictures.

Last Monday, June 15th, my daughter had her annual “school physical.”  Our pediatrician noticed a swollen lymph node on her right leg.  She sent her immediately for a blood test.  White cells were down.  Platelets were down.  She was anemic.  I got the call from my wife around noon while I was at the office.  I cancelled the rest of the day and went home.  I called my sister, a pediatrician.  I also gave our pediatrician permission to speak with my sister.  My sister expressed the potential for considerable concern.  And, I knew why.

Lia felt fine.  No fever.  No lethargy.  No loss of appetite.  An appointment with a pediatric oncologist was made for the next day.  Just that referral would make any parent very nervous.  Plus, as a dentist, I know a little “too much.”  He took some blood and looked at it microscopically.   It wasn’t good.    A bone marrow biopsy was needed and ordered at the hospital immediately.  We were told that the results would come in 24 – 48 hours.  We thought they’d do the test, and we’d go home to wait for the results.  Nope.  Lia was admitted to the children’s hospital on the oncology floor that same day.  Shit.  That wasn’t a good sign.

This was how Lia spent her 11th birthday.  Imagine being an 11 year old birthday girl who is feeling fine being suddenly thrown into a hospital and being poked and prodded.  My hope was that it was some sort of infection.  But, I knew what was more likely coming.

This is our new life.

The bone marrow biopsy results came back:  Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL).  Of the major categories of Leukemia, it’s the “best one to have.”  It’s the most successfully treated version.  Though, Lia is “high risk” because of her age.  When I got the news, my tears were an strange combination of joy and sorrow.  My baby girl has leukemia… But, it’s the “best” kind.  Holy shit.  How’s that for a strange combination of words… “best kind of leukemia?”  Man, this is hard to type.  But, I need to do this.   Writing is my “vent” and my “therapy.”  My wife and I are living every parent’s worst nightmare.  But, we must be strong for our children.

Lia 11-

Lia in her element – at the stables.

My little girl is literally… little.  She’s petite.  Finding access for an IV is difficult and painful.  They finally got one on the back of her right hand.  Holding her while she was screaming in pain was one of the toughest things I’ve done.  Every time she got any meds through her IV it was very painful to her hand.  During the CT scan, they pumped a fair bit of contrast dye (and rather quickly) and she was crying and shaking.  I stood with her and held her hand during the CT scan encouraging her to hold still.  I would do anything to stand in her place.  Anything.

My first thought was that we needed to get our asses to St. Jude in Memphis.  But, it turns out that there is a national network of children’s Lia-6hospitals that treat pediatric cancer called, “Children’s Oncology Group.”  This network includes St. Jude and our hospital, right here at home.  They share diagnoses, data, treatment protocols, outcomes, etc.  So, we will get the exact same treatment protocol here as we would at St. Jude.  Certainly, the favorable logistics of staying at home are obvious.  And, psychologically, it will be far better for Lia.

A different “port of call.”

With my girl on Day 4.

With my girl on Day 4

Yesterday, Lia had surgery to place a “port.”  It’s an access to the subclavian vein that will make blood draws and medication MUCH easier than a traditional IV.  They didn’t waste ANY time getting treatment started once the port was in place.  Lia is glad to be rid of the IV in her hand.  Right after Lia woke up from surgery, I took my 14 year old son to hockey practice.  We are trying to keep his life and routine as normal as possible.

Over the years, even before I was a parent, my heart would sink whenever I would see anything on TV about children with cancer.   During my senior year of dental school, I lived in an apartment that was a block away from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  So, I have always had a “connection” to the wonderful work they do.  I have donated to St. Jude semi-regularly over the years.  As a parent, when I would see anything about children with cancer, my heart would sink even more as I projected myself into that imaginary situation.

The day after her “port” surgery and the morning after her first round of chemotherapy, Lia manages a smile.

I don’t have to use my imagination anymore.  It is the new life into which my family has been involuntarily thrust.  There was life before June 15th, 2015.  And, now there’s life after June 15, 2015.  Life can change in an instant.  And, that instant becomes the only milestone that matters.  The impact of that moment makes everything else (you once thought was important) shrink into insignificance.  This is the ONE thing that matters.  A perspective that supersedes all else gives life new meaning.

I’ve experienced a roller coaster of emotions like never before… from extreme sadness, to frustration, to anger, to hope.  I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.  Nobody deserves this, and certainly not our Lia.

Lia-5

Lia with her best friend.

We’re at Day 6 now.  Lia has had her first round of chemo a few days ago and had a blood transfusion last night.  She had her second round of chemo this afternoon.  So far, so good.  We expect her home next Friday, if her numbers are good.  That will be a good day.  It will have been 10 days in the hospital.  She misses home and her cats terribly.

After Lia comes home, she’ll have to go back for periodic chemo treatments for an estimated 6 months.

My wife has been staying every night with Lia.  I’ve gone in every day to give my wife a “break” to go home.  Of course, it’s not really a “break.”  There are always things to do.  We’ve got a 14 year old son to tend to, as well.  I spend the nights at home with him.

This is classic Lia, making a goofy face. She texted this photo to me today (Day 9 at the hospital), while I was at the office. She claimed that the sock monkey photobombed her.

This is classic Lia, making a goofy face. She texted this photo to me today (Day 9 at the hospital), while I was at the office. She claimed that the sock monkey photobombed her.

I’m also trying to keep him busy with his usual activities (as much as possible).

Of course, we all love our children and put them on a pedestal.  But, anyone who has met Lia will tell you that she is the sweetest person.  She has always been a “happy soul.”  She’s quick with a smile or with a goofy face.  She’s polite and makes quick friends with everyone of all ages.  And, she’s an “animal person.”  She loves animals, and they love her.  It’s amazing to watch.

We’ve got a long road ahead of us.  This is just the beginning.  But, we will get through it and be a stronger, closer, and a more loving family for it.  Our petite, Princess Warrior Lia has already shown us bravery and resilience beyond belief… in the face of unforeseen and formidable challenges.

We have left the light on in Lia's room until she gets home from the hospital.

We have left the light on in Lia’s room until she gets home from the hospital.

We appreciate all the kind words of support and prayers that we’ve already received.  I’m not religious, but I have to believe in the power of numbers putting out that kind of energy.  This Dental Warrior knows there is strength in the efforts of Prayer Warriors.

I’ve got, literally, thousands of friends through my extensive online network.  And, I’m going to leverage that connection and the power that you all possess to effect healing through prayer, positive energy, vibes, meditation, asking the universe, or whatever else you want to call it.

I don’t know when or how frequently I will be posting articles during this time.  I’m just going to see how things evolve.

I salute you all and am humbled by the spirit and generosity of your support.

Lia reunited with Princess!

Lia reunited with Princess!  And, no braces!

UPDATE (6/26/16):   Lia came home last night.  She got another transfusion, another chemo treatment, and a lumbar puncture on her last day in the hospital.

Conversation just this morning…

Me:  It’s so nice to have everyone home.
Chriss:  Isn’t it? It’s amazing what you appreciate.
Lia:  I appreciate this toast.  (which she is eating)

She also got her braces off today!

Update August 31, 2015:

20150911_175612_resized_2

Lia with “Spike the cat” helping her on the laptop.  She has the “male pattern baldness” thing happening.  Still got some hair on the sides.

It’s been a bit over 2 months since the diagnosis.  Another reality which is rather uncomfortable for me… Is the expense related to treatment for Leukemia.  My family has always had a high deductible medical insurance plan.  And, some of the tests and procedures required for treatment are not covered at all.  The medications are insanely expensive, and our plan does not include prescriptions.  This is just not something any family can prepare for, financially, especially given the economy over the last several years.

lia hat

Lia with one of her favorite new hats.

A friend of ours – through our extended “hockey family” – has set up an online fund to help with Lia’s medical expenses.  This is not something I ever envisioned as my reality.  I’ve donated to similar causes myself in the past.  St. Jude has long been a favored charity.  My, how things can turn around, eh?  If you are in any way compelled to contribute, any amount is appreciated and will help tremendously.

Click on:  Lia’s Love Fund.

To read Lia’s story, scroll up or click here.

Update September 16, 2015:

Lia got a 3-week reprieve from chemo because her blood counts were too low.  The side benefit of that was that she felt great!  Two weeks ago, she started back with chemo, both by IV at the treatment center and at home via injection and oral medications.  She’s responding to treatment as is expected by the doctors.  We’ve got a long way to go (about 2 years).  We are taking it one day at a time and one week at a time.

We also wanted to extend a DEEPLY felt “thank you” to all those who have donated to the fund set up by our friend.  It is overwhelming, honestly.  It’s not something any man wants to do.  We hate asking for or taking help.  But, it IS a BIG help with her medical expenses.  It’s heartening to know there are so many good and well-meaning people out there.

Update January 30, 2016:

It’s been seven long months.  And, the battle continues.  As I write, Lia has been in the hospital for six days.  She spiked a fever due to a bacterial infection (enterobacter).  She’s on IV antibiotics.  And, she may be in the hospital for another week, still.

Today I spent the afternoon at the hospital, giving Chriss a “break” (so she could go home and be busy there!).  I really enjoy spending time just BEING with Lia.

On the way out, I spotted a young girl with no hair, tethered to an IV pump (as they all are), playing at the piano located at the entrance to the pediatric oncology floor.  She was by herself, no parents in sight.  I figure she was 8 – 10 years old.  She was just poking away at the piano keyboard.  She didn’t look up at me, as if I wasn’t there.  And, it struck me… hard… as I walked by and through the security doors.

Every so often, I get reminded of the magnitude of childhood cancer.  It fucking sucks, and no kid deserves it.  No family should have to go through it.

I’ve gotten “used to” seeing my daughter in her condition, in a weird way.  I see her as the same beautiful girl with a beautiful soul…. the same happy soul she has always been.  We joke around to distract ourselves from the serious nature of this experience.  We’ve acclimated to “just another” hospital stay.  It’s our “new normal,” though we fully expect to get passed it and move back to the “real normal.”

But, sometimes seeing other kids has a different effect…. a sobering effect.  This is serious shit. Life-threatening shit. FUCK CANCER!

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89 Responses to My Warrior Princess Lia

  1. Michael Nugent says:

    Prayers to the family.

  2. Arturo R. Garcia DMD says:

    Mike, our prayers are with Lia and your family. I am sure she is as courageous and determined as her dad.

  3. So sorry to hear this Mike. My prayers and thoughts are with you, your family and your little girl. Stay strong.
    Barry

  4. Bill Blatchford says:

    Mike, Our thoughts and prayers to your daughter and the rest of the family.
    Bill

  5. Bob Arm says:

    Mike, our prayers are with Lia and your family. Bob

  6. Mike,
    Wow! Thank you for sharing so openly. I am SO sorry for your precious daughter and family. She is a beautiful young lady. How tragic and I know this is so hard to bear.
    I pray you will all be comforted by the peace only God can give. I pray for complete healing and restoration for Lia. This is your community and you have given so much to us. Now, it’s our turn to give to you. How can I help?
    Paula Harriss

  7. Am praying to the One who made her (Psalm 139), the One who can sustain you (Psalm 20:1-8)!

  8. sheri says:

    I am praying for healing for Lia and God’s strength and comfort for your family As a cancer survivor U know full well the emotions you are all going through. May God be with you through this journey…

  9. Dave Boag says:

    Mike, I LITERALLY broke out in tears when I read the diagnosis, because I misread it, and after about a minute of literal weeping, I re-read it and was ELATED when I saw that it was ALL, and not what I thought it said. My friend, I’m not gonna channel energy. I’m praying to a God who is real and who knows the roller coaster of emotions you are going through, of which even I got a small taste. He is aGod that changes lives. You, Lia, and your family are being prayed for. Love you, brother! I mean it. Haven’t seen you in quite a while, but you mean a lot to me.

  10. Ken says:

    Mike I am so sorry to hear this news yet at the same time glad it is at least the more treatable one to have. I will keep your daughter and your family in my prayers. God bless and hang in there!

  11. Jarett says:

    Sorry to hear that. She’ll be great and bounce back in no time. MY thoughts are with you and your family

  12. Brian K. Van Netta, DDS says:

    Mike, I will keep your daughter and family in our prayers. She is so beautiful and her strength is evident. May God watch over all of you and give you the peace and resolve you need to handle this challenge.

    Blessings , Brian

  13. Karole says:

    I have had a similar experience and know that it can be a difficult time for everyone in the family. My thoughts are with all of you.

  14. Laura says:

    You and your daughter and your family will be in my prayers daily.

  15. Stacie Carlson says:

    Mike and family,
    As a parent I cannot imagine the turmoil you all must be experiencing right now, but please know that I am sending all the positive energy I can muster to pray for Warrior Strength for you all. Love to all of you. I will “stay posted” to lend steady presence in prayer.

  16. Gary White says:

    Many prayers for Lia and the family. As someone who has a disabled child, I understand how difficult it can be to see your child suffering and not be able to ‘fix it’. I’ve learned that whatever ‘control’ I thought I had in this world was an illusion and what truly matters is attitude and love. Stay strong.

  17. Nomi waters says:

    Mike,

    Keeping your daughter and your entire family in my thoughts as you battle this like the warriors that you are! You got this. Sending strength to you and Lia.
    Nomi

  18. Sharyn Schoen says:

    You are in our prayers!! Sending lots of healing power and strength your way.

  19. Alvaro Fernandez-Carol says:

    Dear Mike, many Prayers and Healing Thoughts for Lia. She is strong and courageous. Stay strong for her and your Family. She is obviously receiving the best care, The Lord will protect her and bring her back to fantastic health. My thoughts and Prayers. Hang Tough, Believe

  20. Kory Wallin says:

    You can beat this Lia!! What a little trooper. Best wishes, lots of love and prayers!

  21. Bill Goldner says:

    I was struck deeply by your news. I feel for your little angel, having had chemo for my CLL several years ago. We will hold her in our thoughts and add her to the prayer list at Congregation B’Nai Zion
    Bill G

  22. Josh Belof says:

    My heart is weeping with yours, Mike, but if she is anything like her Daddy, she is an exceptional person, and will excel against this! Praying hard for you guys.

  23. Brett Garner says:

    I wish you and your family the best of luck. I have young children and can’t imagine how you must be feeling. You are all in my thoughts.

  24. Gregory Sawyer says:

    Mike: You are truly living every parent’s worst nightmare. Stay strong and keep up the ordeal, knowing that an entire community is behind you and using all methods available to us to assure a great outcome. Please post regular updates.

  25. Steven Hillesheim says:

    Your daughter and family will be in my prayers. As a dentist myself and avid shooter I’ve followed your blog for the last couple of years on and off. I also have a 15 year old daughter named Leah. Please post updates and if there is ever any little thing I can do please do not hesitate to contact me. Stay strong for the family as I know you will.

  26. Jan Frederick says:

    Mike,
    Sending you and your family lots of prayers and best wishes.

  27. Nathan Flesher says:

    Praying for you and yours, Mike!

  28. Dan Hipps says:

    No child or parent should have to suffer what you and your family are going through. My family and I send positive vibrations to you and yours.

  29. ellebelle says:

    Prayers to you and your family. I had thyroid cancer while in dental school. A few surgeries later and here I am. Still alive. Hate every biopsy and ultrasound follow up since it happened, but grateful. There are days that my TSH levels are whackadoo…and my husband is usually the first one to pick up on when I am a little hyper or hypo (either way I must be a joy to be around then 🙂 There really is no good cancer to have. To make a long story short I had a lot of radiation to my cervical spine after a car accident in my youth.

    It really is true that cancer changes you and not all for the worse. It does make you stronger….much stronger….your little angel will be able to handle whatever life throws at her…and it also makes you not sweat the small stuff so much….of course I am a crazy perfectionist and want every day in the office to go well…but the staff knows that my motto is that if nobody died, then it really couldn’t have been that bad of a day.

    Again I am so sorry, and much prayers. No one deserves this and certainly not your daughter and your family. Sending positive energy and prayers your familys’ way 🙂

  30. Oh Mikey,

    Damn!

    You told me something was going on and I imagined the worst. But I’m slightly relieved that it isn’t as bad as I had imagined.

    You will get through this and so will Lia, her mother and brother.

    Love you buddy. I’ll help in any way that I can.

    Howie Horrocks

  31. Sue Keller says:

    Love and Light to Lia, and Mike and your family. You are not alone. Peace be with you throughout this journey.

  32. Chris Kammer says:

    Mike I am so sorry to hear that you are all going through this! I will pray for dear sweet Lia and your whole family.

  33. Ash Goodman says:

    Our thoughts and hopes for the best go out to you and your family Mike.

  34. John Seward says:

    So sorry to hear that Mike,
    Prayers and all good thoughts from Ireland,
    John.

  35. Gary Henkel says:

    Mike:

    I can only imagine what that news was like to receive. like it or not, are thoughts and prayers will be with you throughout. she is going to beat this thing. she is a cute kid, and looks to me to be a fighter like her old man. keep us up to date.

    gary

  36. Jann Carr says:

    What a strong family, what a gift to have the support of your loved ones and your community. I will light a candle for your princess…God is with you all, be comforted by that.

    Jann

  37. Dale says:

    Oh man Mike. I am so sorry to hear this. I am “religious” so I’ll be praying for Lia, you, and you’re family every time you enter my mind. Thanks for sharing with us. Hang in there man.

  38. Pat Carroll says:

    Damn Mike. That sucks. Will keep you and your family in our prayers. Children are tougher than we think, She sounds like a great girl.

    Pat

  39. Rory Mortman says:

    I’m praying for her Mike.

  40. Trish Walraven says:

    Not only are you a good writer to move me to tears, you are such a good daddy, and that’s the most important thing of all. Lifting your whole family up in prayer and happy thoughts!

  41. Warren Bobinski says:

    Mike,
    Between my wife and I we have 5 kids and by the end of the year will have 5 grand children.

    Karen had been through a similar situation with her boy. He lost an eye due to cancer when he was a baby. It was tough on her and there is a lot more to the story – but the fact is it was caught early – and was treatable. He is now an accomplished young man!

    The positive energy and prayer is vital – and Karen and I will send you all we can muster! Your daughter sounds amazing – and I can see from your posts what a proud father you are.

    Take care of yourself and know there is a world of Dental Warriors praying for you.

    Smiles….

    Warren

  42. David Madow says:

    Mike – Sending your family, and especially Lia, a whole lot of positive energy and prayers! I feel really good things in the future. Dave

  43. Carlos Boudet says:

    Mike,
    Can’t imagine what you are going through.
    Jeannie and I will keep Lia and your family in our thoughts and prayers, hoping for a speedy and full recovery.

  44. Matt Brokaw says:

    I cannot imagine how you typed this heartfelt post. As tears rolled down, your daughter and your family have been added to my dental prayer list. Following your stories and posts as a fellow Warrior and through Dentaltown I have felt a connection through your writings. I am using that conduit to pass my Positive Energy to your Princess.

  45. Susan Vadnais says:

    Mike,

    I am so happy that Lia is back home and your family is together. Hold on tight to one another. We are out here, praying for your little Lia and gathering strength from and through your family’s example of love and perseverance. Thank you for sharing.

  46. paresh patel says:

    My prayers for your family. We wish speedy recovery for Lia. With best wishes.

  47. Melissa says:

    Mike,
    You are not alone in this. Prayers to you and your family.

  48. Paige says:

    So so sorry to hear about your daughter! Praying for a full recovery for Lia. Thanks for sharing your story.

  49. Janelle says:

    Hi Dr Mike,
    My husband and I have been following you on D-Town for many years, and have learned so much from you, so when he made it a point to share your blog post with me, I was floored. Our 1yo son just got out of the hospital for severe neutropenia, hopefully caused by viral suppression. Your blog post totally summed up every scary feeling that I had as he was admitted: “I know too much! Not my kid!” So, thank you for sharing your story. It brought me comfort today. We will send every good vibe we have to your family!

  50. Tahrima Ferdous says:

    Mike,

    I am sorry to hear this. I will keep Lia and your family in my prayer. I feel for your little warrior princes Lia.

  51. Jared says:

    Cheers to you and your daughter’s courage! I can’t even imagine the dread you felt. But remember that your own energy is important also. Keep it positive!

    With all the goodwill you’ve gotten so far, I imagine you’ll be fine. Especially because Lia sounds like such a trooper. I can’t wait to hear about how she’s beaten the pants off this disease!

  52. Ryan Gianos says:

    Dear Mike,

    I was quite touched to read about your daughter. God Bless You and Your family. I am a family man myself and my heart goes out to You for everything that you Good Folks are dealing with during these trying times. My prayers are with Your Daughter Lia (and the rest of your family) for a speedy recovery. I am sure that everything is going to work out…Best Wishes!

  53. Sherran Bard says:

    Thank you for sharing such a touching story. We have Lia on our Prayer chain at Church. Thanks as well for sharing Lia with us. She is precious and her stories before her illness grew us to love her. We all have our hands together for her now.
    Matthew 18:20
    “For where two or more are gathered in My name, I am there in their midst.”

  54. OC says:

    Mike, sorry to hear about your girl. I have been diagnosed with the exact same thing earlier this year and is still going through treatment, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone else. One thing for sure help a lot is the family support, it’s amazing how it brighten my day and given me strength just to see my family. If you want I can share more about my journey so far, but the details are probably more suit for private emails than a public forum. good luck !

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Hi OC,

      Sorry to hear about your own diagnosis. Cancer just fucking sucks.

      I wish you the best in your journey. I agree that the support of family and friends is a huge help. Keep the faith and keep up the good fight! 🙂

  55. OC says:

    Thanks mike,

    A few tips from the top of my head, be prepare for the physical changes, I think that’s probably gonna be the hardest for a little girl to endure. And some kind of distraction will help greatly, any kind of indoor hobby is good. It’s very easy to get into the downward spiral of depression if can’t distract the mind from the illness from time to time. And that goes for both the patient and the support family.

  56. ellebelle says:

    Prayers for your family this back to school and Labor day weekend. Cancer does indeed suck. The only thing it gave me was perspective. The sky looks a bit bluer, the flowers smell a bit better, and my family is everything.

  57. Steffanie says:

    I am a regular visitor of you beautiful dental blog. By far one of my favourites!
    I hope she gets better soon and I wish you and your family all the best!
    Keep it up!

    Warm Regards,

    Steff

  58. John says:

    My preyers go out to you and your family

    John

  59. Lolabees says:

    Lia is a beautiful girl! I can’t imagine the pain you are all going through now. I know I’m late to this thread, having just found it, but I wish Lia, you, and your family much healing, comfort, and hope during this challenging time. Add me to your Prayer Warrior army!

  60. I hope Lia is doing better, my prayers go out to you. This must be a very difficult thing to go through, I know you and your family will get through this and everything will turn out ok and afterward you will appreciate everything that much more!

  61. Susan V. says:

    Hi Mike,

    I have been wondering if Lia’s fever has abated and whether she is back home. I hope everything is going ok. Warm regards,

    Sue

  62. Susan V. says:

    Mike,

    Is Lia back home? I am worried. You said she may get back home on Monday. It is now Thursday. Is she doing ok? Are you, Chriss and Christopher doing ok? Please let us know. Sincerely, Sue V

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Lia got home last Sunday night, after a 16-day hospital stay. Good to have her home.

      • Susan V. says:

        Mike,

        Thank you for the update. That’s a long time to spend at/in the hospital, but it is encouraging to hear that she got home a little earlier than projected. Keep up the good fight. Thanks again,

        Sue V.

  63. Susan V. says:

    OOPs sorry. I didn’t think my other post went through. Sue V.

  64. Susan says:

    Uggh. Sorry. I didn’t mean to sound so demanding and melodramatic. When you have a chance to update, you will. Thank you so much. Warm regards, Sue

  65. Dr. Vargas says:

    My staff and I, are sending you and your family lots of prayers and best wishes.

  66. Alex says:

    Good to see lia is back home, our prayers and good wishes are with you and your family, I am sure god will help you and lia both, as god always help good people like you. Stay blessed.

  67. Jess says:

    I just found this site. I am a writer and professional researcher who has a hobby passion for dentistry and I found your blog and this was the first post I have read. I also have a daughter. I cannot imagine what you have and are going through. You are a dentist but I have a graduate degree in English and hereby prescribe you continued writing as a therapeutic outlet. Journal, blog, do whatever you need.

    I’ll be checking back in this blog regularly from now on.

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Thanks, Jess. I’ve always enjoyed writing. I haven’t been inspired lately, so it’s been a while since I whipped up an article.

  68. What a touching story as well as well written. My thoughts and prayers go our to your daughter and family. Best wishes.

  69. Oc says:

    Hi mike,
    Just wanna check how you guys are doing? I have finished my infusion chemo in November and bone marrow confirmed remission, I was very happy the day they pulled out the central line. Still got two years of maintence meds and labs but hopefully the dark days are over. Just wanna let you know there is light at the end of the tunnel. It’s a grinding process but will be over soon
    Good luck and best wishes

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Thanks, Oc. Lia and mom just walked through the door. She had counts this morning, and her platelets were at ZERO. She had to go for a transfusion. They left at 8am this morning and got back just now… 9pm. Long day. Low on red cells, too. Her ANC was also at zero. She has “walking pneumonia” and started antibiotics. Were soldiering on… one day at a time.

      Thanks for the update on your progress. That’s great to hear. And, it’s inspiring. 🙂

      • Susan says:

        Mike, Just checked in to see any updates. Oh my gosh, Lia’s chemo regimen has been arduous. I am sending prayers at this moment, hoping for some relief from “therapy” side-effects and healing for Lia. Keep soldiering on. Your family is strong. There will be a light at the end of this tunnel. Our prayers are with and for you all.

  70. Our team is hoping for the best for your little girl, you, and the rest of your family. You are in our thoughts.

  71. Nice Post…
    Thanks For Sharing…

  72. Karen Glerum says:

    You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.

  73. Well Thanks for sharing the experience with us through this write up and images and videos. Turned out to be a quite interesting article. thanks for posting.

  74. Kate says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about what’s going on! I got out of the habit of reading your blog and then I read this! I’m so sorry to hear what you guys have been going through.

    I’m glad that Lia is staying strong and you have a good support network in place. Fuck cancer!

  75. Ken Sloan says:

    Your family is in my prayers. I hope the on-line fund is a real blessing.

  76. Dennis says:

    I haven’t been to your site in over a year. Thought I’d check in tonight and read this article. My heart goes out to you and your family and I said a prayer for Lia. You and your family is in my thoughts.

  77. Mike,
    I’m new to your blog having discovered it today. But as I read your blog, an aphorism rung in my thoughts…”We complain about having no shoes until we meet the man who has no feet”.
    Mike, I am absolutely humbled and in awe by you and your family’s strength and openness in sharing such a heartfelt personal story. Hug Lia for me. And tell her that even a stranger from a distant world, the Kitsap Peninsula of Washington State, is pulling for her and the family.

    Hang in there, my friend,

    Mike, you’re all amazing!! Keep up the fight!!

  78. Great article, very well written. My thoughts and prayers go out to Lia and your family. She’s a very strong and brave little girl, indeed! You rock, girl!

  79. Alex Yong says:

    Thanks for the sharing, this is really inspiring. Wishing you and family the best in career and life!

  80. Dental Mental says:

    How is Lia doing? Any updates you’d like to share? I think about her/you guys a lot and keep hoping for good news.
    (My niece is ALL survivor too).

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Hi! Thanks for asking. She (and we) continue to soldier on. So far, so good. She’s still in treatment… scheduled through October 2017. So, we are on the downhill side. Hopefully, that will be the end of it.

      How old was your niece when diagnosed? And, how old now?

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