Our daughter Isabella was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) shortly after her 1st birthday (2007). We were told she had a 50% chance of survival. She underwent chemotherapy for 6 months, and because of her type of leukemia she had to stay in the hospital during the treatment plan. The doctors wanted to keep a very close eye on her given all the side effects and with her immune system being compromised. While on the tail end of treatment she developed a horrible blood infection and went into sepsis. It was extremely horrifying! She was immediately rushed into the PICU by the respiratory team. They told us it was second to second, and that she was the sickest child in the whole hospital. They said there was a possibility that we may lose our baby so we should call our family and friends. We felt numb and went into autopilot while she remained on a breathing ventilator for 3 weeks. It was an extremely scary time, but one in which we were always by her side! We would talk to her, touch her, remind her of how much we loved her and all the while her little body fought through it. She got better, went into remission and we were able to go home after 7 months of living in the hospital! Gosh did our perspective on life change, we celebrated each moment, each second of every day for the 8 months we were home and she was in the clear.
Then in July of 2008 our world came crashing down again when the cancer came back into our sweet beautiful baby girl. She had relapsed, so another long stay in the hospital was ahead of us where she would undergo more chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. However, the protocol simply wasn't working; her poor little body had been through so much. Through it all, she remained so courageous and strong! We lived it up as much as possible while in the hospital! We just kept holding on to a miracle and believing that our prayers would be answered. With each passing day we continued to shower her with all of our love and support, and stayed by her side every second.
Post transplant she developed a secondary cancer lymphoma. I thought gosh, when is my precious little girl going to get a break! We believe in our hearts that the doctors and nurses did everything in their power to cure her, as well as make her as comfortable as possible. They all fell in love with Bella and we remained in the hospital for 8 months before the cancer took her. We watched her take her last breath, just shy of her 3rd birthday. I cannot put into words the journey we were on, or watching our child pass in our arms. We are so proud that were we chosen to be her parents! She taught us so much! Her courageous strength was unbelievable! She showed us true unconditional love! We miss her so much and our hearts will always and forever be broken! Heaven just couldn't wait any longer! On March 3rd, 2009 our Hero became an Angel!
Written by Summer Alcala, Isabella’s Mom