The doctor walked into the ER and said “I know this is going to be hard to handle but it looks like she has leukemia.” Tears streamed down my face as I tried to process what was just said. I asked him “are you sure? This already happened, the labs were wrong, please look again.” I was sobbing so hard that I could barely talk. The doctor said they were positive, it was not a mistake. I looked at my helpless, sick daughter. This isn’t happening, I thought to myself, she’s healthy. I had given birth to my son five days earlier - this was supposed to be a joyous time, but my five-year-old daughter had been diagnosed with Pre-B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. I left her and my husband at the hospital that night in shock. I couldn’t talk, I couldn’t think, all I could do is sob uncontrollably.
The next month was a blur. Suddenly there were tests, chemo, surgery, meds, and lots and lots of doctors. At the time of her diagnosis, Aysia was too young to remember the four surgeries she had had as a baby. She only knew a life of playing at the park, carefree, healthy. Now she was sick, losing her hair and not able to walk. We were devastated and sadly started to grieve for her, acting like we had already lost her. Meanwhile, Aysia was getting ready to show us how she could deal with devastation. Aysia is the strongest and bravest person I know. Yes, she has Down syndrome and doesn’t talk very well, but she lives life like no one I’ve ever met. Aysia has fought for her life since she was born and has dealt with numerous things that most adults will never encounter. My little girl lives life with smiles, laughs and hugs.
Aysia loves painting, playing at the park, music and coloring. She acts out movies, dances and entertains us daily. She is so amazing that despite the awful things the medical staff have had to do to her, she rarely leaves without giving them a hug. That is who she is. I love my daughter to the moon and back and will do anything for her. I have never thought of Aysia as a mistake or wondered if I would be better off without her. Instead I rejoice and thank god that she is mine, and that I have the privilege of seeing her smiling face and yes, even getting licks from her every day. Down syndrome is a beautiful thing that we can all learn from. My daughter has certainly done a great job of advocating for that!