Happy Re-Birthday, Anna
August 17, 2028: Day +730 post-transplant
Today we are celebrating Anna's 2nd Re-Birthday, marking exactly two years since her bone marrow transplant. As we reflect on the last two years, we're truly in awe of how far she has come over the past year in particular. She is at a much different, and better, place. We all are, really. The side-by-side pictures of Anna below are exactly one year apart. It’s plain to see how far she’s come. And we're so thankful.
Anna officially, and finally, has no restrictions. She began fourth grade just like any other nine-year-old. Her once weekly or even daily visits to Phoenix Children’s Hospital are becoming every three months. Her port will be removed in October. Her bone marrow is now made up of 100% donor cells, which is a great thing. She may have future complications related to her transplant from time to time -- and she will always be watched closely -- but, God-willing, they will be manageable.
It has been a long time since we sent an update. But what can we say -- we’ve been busy joining (and enjoying) the world again. Once Anna was cleared for life outside our home, we began planning our summer. And, it truly was the #SummerofDeLaney. It began with Anna's Make-A-Wish trip to Hawaii in May. What a tremendous organization! Every step of the trip was made special for Anna, and Margaret too, which was so important because sometimes the toll this whole ordeal has taken on the youngest DeLaney is sadly overlooked.
Melissa, Anna, and Margaret spent the entire month of June on Coronado Island, near San Diego. The girls were beach bums and boogie boarded almost every day. They even took surfing lessons. I joined them for the last two weeks of the month and it was cathartic for us all. We were blessed with visits from family and friends throughout the month and we hope to repeat the trip next year.
Anna also attended PCH's Camp Rainbow (for chidren who were treated in their Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders) for the first time in early August. So much fun, recreation, and silliness packed into a whole week in the Prescott pines, and all with kids that have been through similar experiences. Needless to say, she loved it and can't wait to go back again next summer... and the summer after that... and probably the one after that too.
Another significant milestone for Anna happened last weekend. She took part in the Cardinals Junior Cheerleader program culminating with a halftime performance at our first preseason game. To think that she’s allowed to be in a stadium with 65,000 people is amazing, considering she was barely allowed to leave the house just one year ago.
I hope future posts are nothing but updates on Anna’s achievements and happy times. We can’t thank everyone enough for the incredible support over the past two years. It’s remarkable to see how confident and happy she is now. I shouldn’t be surprised. She fought hard, and almost every day, handled her situation with grace and dignity. I know she’s going to grow up and do great things. She’s already taught me the meaning of courage.