Mileena Strong

I really don't know where to begin this story, but I guess I should start on Wednesday, August 3rd. Mileena started complaining of a sore throat and began running a slight temp. She had an appointment Thursday, the 4th, at the doctor's office to get her "6th grade shot" (D-TAP), so I just asked them to swabbed her throat for strep first. She had a positive strep test, so instead of a 6th grade shot, she got an antibiotic shot and oral antibiotics for home.

Mileena is normally a really good sick kid. Most of the time you can't really tell that she is sick. However, this time she just didn't seem to be getting better. Her throat never really stopped hurting, she was tired, and she kept a low grade fever. Monday, she was feeling a little bit better, so they went ahead and gave her the 6th grade shot.

Tuesday was the first day of 6th grade, so I was really trying to bump up her confidence and tell her that she was going to have a good day, and that she was going to be fine. But when she had to stop 2 or 3 times walking to her classroom because she was out of breath, I began to doubt if she was really going to be fine. I could tell that she was pale, and that she just didn't look like she felt well. Mileena made it thru lunch, and then I had to go pick her up. When we got home, she laid down for a 3 1/2 hour nap, which NEVER happens! Kevin and I decided the next morning she was going back to the doctor.

Wednesday, August 9th, a day I will never forget, I took Mileena to the doctor's office thinking that maybe she had mono. They re-swabbed her for strep and did a mono-spot test. She again tested positive for strep, and negative for mono. Because she looked so pale, dehydrated, and fatigued, it was decided that she needed an IV for fluids and that they would do a more extensive blood work up to confirm the mono diagnosis. When Dr. Dupre' came into the room and sat down in front of me, I knew something was wrong. I reached for Mileena's hand, trying to not become dizzy. When he told me her WBC was 272,000, and that normal is between 5,000 to 10,000, I knew that we were looking at Leukemia, and that our lives had just changed forever.

He told us that we were going straight to Children's Hospital ER, and that they would rerun the same blood work, just to confirm everything, and then go from there. Mileena didn't understand exactly what was going on, but she knew that it was bad. I held her hand, took Dr. Dupre's hand, and his staff completed our cirlce, and we prayed. We prayed for Mileena, for God's will with her, for a miracle, for the doctors and staff that would be treating her, for us to have peace and calm and understanding. After arriving at Children's ER, and speaking with Dr. Cochran about the things that were about to happen, she asked if she could pray with us, and she did.

A couple of hours later we met the Hematology and Oncology team, which they call Hemoc here. We were given a confirmation of Leukemia, but were still waiting of a specific form to be able to give us a treatment plan. Once we got up in a room, Dr. Schlappey came back in to check on us and see if we had any questions. We did, millions, but could only remember 1 or 2. After he told us what to expect the next day or 2 he asked if he could pray with us. And he did. From that moment forward, I felt such a peace at being in this hospital, with these doctors. I knew that God had put us in this place, in this time, for a reason.

This is just the beginning of Mileena's journey. I know that she will be tested over and over. But I also know that she is a child of God, and that she has trusted her heart to Jesus. She is a strong, beautiful, smart, amazing young lady! She might finish this journey a little battle worn, but she will finish it, and she will be such a witness to and amazing and loving Father. We put our trust in Him.
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Organizer and beneficiary

Cherie Hill Smyly Mimi 
Madison, AL
Rachelle Painter 

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