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Old 03-13-2011, 04:43 PM   #1
mom2pixies
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Miss B's Magical Wish Trip Adventure to Atlantica

Oh! I can’t wait any longer—so I am starting this PreTrip Report (PTR) without even knowing if Brooke’s wish will be granted yet. I’m just too excited to think that her wish to visit the Disney Princesses might come true!

Pre-trip report chapters
Introduction to Miss B and description of her wish
Finally! Port-removal surgery scheduled
Port-removal surgery!

Brooke's first day of school

It's Avie's first birthday!!
Overdue photos of first day of school and Avie's pre-party birthday celebration
MAW visit update
Pic-sharing Monday
Wish visit is ON!!!!
A wish made on a star!
Put it in your calendars--we got DATES!!
Guest of Honour at the Teddy Bear Picnic
Starlight, starbrite - wish I might get misquoted in the press tonight?
A gift from the heart - Miss B's first BIG GIVE!!!
Itinerary draft
More Mickey Mail!
Pre-beach BIG GIVES!
Post-beach BIG GIVES!
BIG GIVE-ATHON!
BIG GIVE-ATHON Part II
Princess Packages Arrive


Brooke is the star of our show—in fact, she is the star of any show she happens to appear in! LOL!! She’s our bouncy, silly, funny three-year-old Daddy’s girl. She’s a very imaginative and wonderful kid, full of energy and personality, who loves creative play, dressing up, swimming, dancing, painting and crafting, baking in the kitchen and playing with her ‘best friends’--sweet baby sister Avery (or Avie, as Brooke nicknamed her upon birth) and her twin four-year-old cousins. She has a cheerful disposition that just makes you want to hug her. Her smile and affection are genuine and her laugh is infectious. She is just pure sunshine!


(This is Our Wish Child Extraordinaire--Brooke!)

Last summer was supposed to be the best summer ever for our family. I was on maternity leave having just had Avery in April and couldn’t wait to spend the next year at home with my girls. We were looking forward to a summer of tea parties on the lawn, playdates at the park and daytrips to the beach. We had already booked a cottage on the beach for our summer vacation and were looking forward to the days leading up to it. We weren’t expecting cancer, but then I don’t think anybody ever does.

It all started in May. Brooke started what looked like a urinary tract infection, so I scheduled an appointment with our family doctor. They treated it as such with antibiotics and it first, the blood in the urine seemed to go away, so it seemed to be working. But then, after a few days, the blood reappeared more prominently. We went back to the doctor. They ran bloodtests and performed exams but couldn’t explain what was causing it. So, they referred us to the local children’s hospital and we were scheduled for an ultrasound in September.

In spite of Brooke’s unflagging good health—she showed no other outward symptoms, did not suffer from pain, fatigue, loss of appetite or energy levels—I knew something was wrong with her and wasn’t about to sit on it all summer long, so I arranged to have my MIL babysit Avie while I took Brooke to the ER. My hubby (Pascal) met us there and we waited to be seen.


(Brooke last year, just before she was diagnosed with Wilms tumour.)

The doctor who saw us, listened to our concerns and agreed to schedule an ultrasound within a week. The next morning, I received a phone call telling me that the hospital had a cancellation open up a spot that morning and could I be there in an hour? Even though I had no babysitter for Avie, I decided to take it. Pascal met me at the hospital, so I could sneak away to nurse and change Avie.

The ultrasound took forever (poor Brooke, who was only 2.5 years at the time, fell asleep on the table!) and the technician took well over 250 photos. Pas and I looked across the table at one another and knew something was up. The technician next asked us to go back to ER and someone would come down to ‘discuss the results’ with us.

Because Avie was too young to wait in ER, it was advised that I go around to the front lobby of the hospital and wait there. Pas would call me as soon as someone came by. About 20 minutes later, Pas and Brooke arrived and he looked absolutely frenzied. He asked why I hadn’t answered my phone (we later discovered that I never had service at the hospital) and that the doctor was ready to see us. By the look on his face, I just knew we were in for bad news. Apparently, the look on doctor’s face said it all and Pascal refused to hear another word without me by his side.

We raced back to the consultation room and were met by a young doctor who told us that they had found a mass on Brooke’s right kidney. He said it was Wilms’ but avoided using words like ‘tumour’ or ‘cancer.’ But there it was—the Big C—cancer.

We were blown away. Kids don’t get cancer! Only middle-aged smokers get cancer! We were heartbroken and devastated. And, my sweet, beautiful girl just climbed into my lap and told me ‘Don’t cry, Mommy. It will be alright.’
Brooke was immediately admitted to the hospital that night and Pascal decided to stay with her since I had to get home with Avery. I have never felt so lonely and sad as I drove away from half my family that night. I spent that night weeping over the head of my infant daughter.


(Avie, Brooke's little sister, who is full of smiles and beans!)

Luckily, having newborn Avie at home (and the overwhelming quickness with which the doctors reacted to Brooke’s diagnosis) helped distract me from this heartsickening news.

Brooke underwent testing for the next two days and was diagnosed with a Stage 4 Wilms tumour. The surgery took place the following Monday and the surgeons found a softball-sized tumour on her right kidney, so rather than try to remove the tumour, they performed a full nepherectomy. She also had a lesion on her left kidney and a tiny lesion on her lung.

B underwent 15 rounds of chemo as an outpatient for the next seven months. I have never seen a braver and more cheerful patient as Brooke. She just accepted, had faith that we would never let anything bad happen to her and then moved on. She went in, never crying, always laughing with the nurses. She underwent pokes and prods and countless tests, received her ‘special medicine,’ threw up and went home, happy as ever. She was such a trooper!

The lesion on her lung disappeared shortly after she began chemo, but the one on her remaining kidney did not change. After much consultation, it was determined by two medical staffs that it was, in fact, an anatomical anomaly and was non-cancerous. Since then, no other lesions have appeared.

It was not the summer or fall any of us expected. Pas and I spent much of it at the hospital with Brooke (meaning there were some long days where we left newborn Avie home with MIL and a freezer full of pumped milk!). Poor Avie—it should have been her year, her milestones we celebrated this summer and fall, but instead much of our focus was on Brooke. Luckily, she will never remember this year--and God willing, will never have to endure that feeling of being 'left out' due to illness ever again.


(Our little family: My beautiful Brooke, loving hubby Pascal, myself (a rare photo!) and our little Avery!)

Brooke had to drop out of her beloved swim lessons (she has since returned!) and we had to take down the trampoline for the year. We also had to cancel our summer vacation. We avoided crowds, so didn’t always attend parties and bbqs with family and friends when Brooke wasn’t feeling well or her numbers were down. She didn’t have a birthday party this year because it was the middle of flu season. We didn’t go to the park much. We didn’t go the beach. (I am sure this is the case for many, many families on here! Some families experience much more than we ever did and I salute them for living this reality every single day.) And even though Brooke lost all of her hair, her appetite and some of her balance--she never lost her good spirit. Her sunny outlook on life has been amazing and inspiring to us, her parents, and everyone who has met her. We could all learn some lessons from her!

Brooke started 2011 on a healthy note, however. She finished her final chemo treatment the week of Christmas, and her CT and MRI tests came back clear of all cancerous evidence in January. That news was music to our ears! What a relief! We all celebrated on New Year’s Eve that’s for certain. Our family’s wish had come true—now it was time for Brooke’s!

In February, our Interlink nurse reminded me that Brooke was eligible for a wish from the Make a Wish Foundation of Canada. She had told me about it early in Brooke’s treatments, but I hadn’t thought of it since. Since Brooke had just completed her treatments, I decided to inquire. I was under the impression that wishes were for kids with terminal or chronic illnesses (Brooke has neither, thank goodness!).

I went online and visited their website, read (and cried over!) countless wish stories and amazing children, and--even though I wasn’t completely comfortable with some organization ‘giving’ my daughter something so significant as a wish—I decided to put in an application. Brooke has endured more in her short life than any person should ever have to face—and I realized that she’s earned a little magic and wonderment! She deserves a re-do for this heck of a year.


(Brooke and her 'baby.')

Brooke was preliminarily ‘approved’ and we filled out the paperwork. When I asked her what she wanted as her wish, my little poolrat’s (she just loves to be in the water!) immediate reply was to ‘swim with Ariel!’ She loves all things princess, mermaid and fairy, so naturally she is big into the Disney Princesses and Fairies—but, by far, her favourite princess is the Little Mermaid, Ariel. Just something about Atlantica and Ariel's under the sea adventures that Brooke just adores. Since I think it pretty unlikely that she’ll be swimming with Ariel—or any other mermaids any time soon (LOL!)--I figured that meeting Ariel and the other princesses might be the next best thing. She happily agreed.

So, there you have it—the whole, long, drawn-out story of her illness and subsequent recovery. I apologize for boring those who have already clicked away, and for those who have stuck this thread out, I look forward to chatting and planning this one-in-a-lifetime-trip with you!

Of course, writing that might be getting ahead of myself! Like I said, we have not yet been approved or even met with wish grantors, but if any place can bring my daughter the magic and wonder that she rightly deserves, it would have to be with Ariel in Disney World. I really and truly hope her dream comes true—I know ours has!

Thanks for tuning in.

Robin (mom2pixies)

Last edited by mom2pixies; 08-17-2011 at 08:42 AM. Reason: adding chapters
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Old 03-13-2011, 04:44 PM   #2
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Wow! Those pics are huge! My bad.
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Old 03-13-2011, 05:24 PM   #3
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Awww what cute pictures!!!!! I love them big!!! So, what are your thoughts so far??? This is exciting!!
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Old 03-13-2011, 05:53 PM   #4
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thank you for sharing your story. Your girls are gorgeous.
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Old 03-13-2011, 07:11 PM   #5
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Love your big pictures
Thank you for sharing Brook and Avie with us
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Old 03-13-2011, 07:37 PM   #6
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thanks for sharing... great photos...
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Old 03-13-2011, 07:38 PM   #7
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WELCOME!!! I'm in Ontario too, its nice to have another Canadian on board. Our daughters Wish is being granted through Children's Wish Foundation. I hope Brooke gets her wish of going to DISNEY!!
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Old 03-13-2011, 09:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billwendy View Post
Awww what cute pictures!!!!! I love them big!!! So, what are your thoughts so far??? This is exciting!!
I'm a researcher at heart, so I just thrive on uncovering more and more information, but with so many options and so much to do--even, I'm a little overwhelmed! LOL!! It's very exciting and a lot of fun! Digging up new nuggets of advice and opinions on these boards has become my new obsession! If the trip happens, I just want it to be the most memorable and fantastic time for my little girls!
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Old 03-13-2011, 09:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cogero View Post
thank you for sharing your story. Your girls are gorgeous.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinytreasures View Post
Love your big pictures
Thank you for sharing Brook and Avie with us
Quote:
Originally Posted by brookerene View Post
thanks for sharing... great photos...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom2Miracles View Post
WELCOME!!! I'm in Ontario too, its nice to have another Canadian on board. Our daughters Wish is being granted through Children's Wish Foundation. I hope Brooke gets her wish of going to DISNEY!!
Thank you all!
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Old 03-13-2011, 10:00 PM   #10
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Great start, your family is beautiful! Your daughter reminds me so much of my son, in the way that she handled chemo and stayed so positive. I just know she will get her wish! Can't wait to follow along!
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Old 03-13-2011, 10:06 PM   #11
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I am so happy you started your PTR...sending that you get confirmation soon on the wish...Your family is PRECIOUS!!!!
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Old 03-14-2011, 01:31 PM   #12
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Great start, your family is beautiful! Your daughter reminds me so much of my son, in the way that she handled chemo and stayed so positive. I just know she will get her wish! Can't wait to follow along!
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I am so happy you started your PTR...sending that you get confirmation soon on the wish...Your family is PRECIOUS!!!!

Thanks for reading our little story! Now, to wait to hear if we get that confirmation. I wonder how long it will take?
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Old 03-15-2011, 04:44 PM   #13
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Thank you for sharing your story about your beautiful family.

My DD would get along with your daughter splendily as mine gets upset that she was not born a mermaid Ariel is her favorite princess of all time
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Old 03-15-2011, 05:06 PM   #14
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Thank you for telling your story. I know how you feel not wanting your child around other for awhile. This will be a great trip for your family. What is your dd's fave Characters other than princess? My one advice if you want to do Characters dining, make ADR right after you find out dates.. We couldn't get into some places. Can't wait to read more on PTR...
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Old 03-15-2011, 06:28 PM   #15
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Thank you for sharing your story about your beautiful family.

My DD would get along with your daughter splendily as mine gets upset that she was not born a mermaid Ariel is her favorite princess of all time
Thank you. Sounds like the girls would get along 'swimmingly!'

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Originally Posted by mommy2girlswv View Post
Thank you for telling your story. I know how you feel not wanting your child around other for awhile. This will be a great trip for your family. What is your dd's fave Characters other than princess? My one advice if you want to do Characters dining, make ADR right after you find out dates.. We couldn't get into some places. Can't wait to read more on PTR...
Thanks for tuning in! Yes, I think it would give us some matched deserved family time--without the thoughts of impending hospital appointments or work commitments intruding upon it.

My daughter's other favourite Disney characters are Tinkerbell and the Fairies, Nemo and, of course, the Big Cheese himself and his Main Squeeze--Mickey and Minnie. Other character faves are Dora and Diego, so she would be pretty excited to meet them too at Universal Studios!
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