Elody: child, patient, hero
Editor’s note: Lynea Kasler is a Tyler County native who attended Tyler Consolidated High School. She currently resides in Columbus, Ohio, with her two daughters. In her own words. . .
There are crumbs on the floor. There is a screaming child in the backseat and a baby doll sitting on the potty. There are crayons under the couch, a giggling child in the closet, and fingerprint smudges on every mirror. It’s a normal house with two toddlers… But it’s not.
There are gauze pads on the dresser. There’s a calendar marked with medications and a bin filled with half-used antibiotics and pain meds. There are vomit buckets in every room, hand sanitizer in the entryway, and medical supplies in the top dresser drawer… There is a lock of hair tied up with an orange ribbon… And a little girl who thinks it’s normal to be bald.
Her name is Elody Grace. She is two and a half years old. She loves blowing bubbles, the color yellow, and everyone she meets. She has blue-green eyes and a smile that could light up the darkest room. She loves to sing, she wants a puppy for Christmas, and her hand still fits in my palm. She has leukemia.
Elody was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in April of this year.
She has spent one fifth of her life on chemotherapy. By the time she is done, she will have spent over half of her life being pumped with poison to keep her alive.
She has lost her hair twice, her ability to walk, regained the ability to walk, spent 15 days inpatient, and gained an immense amount of weight-then lost it all and then some. She has been plagued with nightmares, vomited blood five times, gone an entire week without eating, has had a needle pushed into her chest more times than I would care to count, and has been put under general anesthesia 13 times. She’s gotten several blood transfusions, been to the ER five times, and I am sure I’m forgetting things.
Our lives were forever changed on April 23rd. Up until then I really wondered if real heroes existed.
Now I see them everywhere. They are my daughter’s nurses. They are the parents who have lost a child without explanation, but despite this they focus on helping others. They are cafeteria workers who give you a hug, or doctors who genuinely love your child. Heroes send packages and letters to little ones like my Elody.
But the most incredible heroes I have ever known are children. Children who fight with such grace and dignity. Children who embrace their differences. Children who push baby doll strollers down hospital hallways and take rides on IV poles. It is only when life is threatened that you notice just how much there is to live for.