As My Daughter Goes Through Surgery

Going into surgery

In October 2015, our daughter Rylie was diagnosed with osteosarcoma.  As part of her treatment protocol, Rylie needed to have surgery to take out the tumor in her leg.

I always felt like surgery would be a huge turning point for us and for Rylie.  We have looked forward to it since the beginning.  We talked about how good it will feel to know more, to have more answers: Is the chemo working? Has the tumor shrunk? Will they use a donor bone? Will they get all the cancer?

These questions haunt me on a daily basis, I ask them to myself a million times a day. As a mother, seeing her suffer has been the most challenging thing I’ve ever had to do.  All of it was so unexpected and life altering, and the waiting has been brutal.

Surgery is finally here. We know that it looks like she is responding well to the chemo; the tumor has shrunk and that gives us some sense of relief. But, there are still so many things going through my mind – especially Ry. I am a planner, so not planning the next steps, not knowing what will happen, it all eats away at me and I can’t concentrate on anything.  But we are here, surgery is here, things are going well, doctors seem confident.  I file away all the doubts and questions in my mind and then talk myself into believing the doctors. I have to have hope, I have no choice.

During Surgery

“I go to the restroom and break down, drop to me knees crying and praying to God to let her be okay, let her beat this.”
I can’t watch TV, read …nothing.  I stare at a picture of Rylie that I keep by me.  Up until now,  I had been by her side.  Now, I’m not there. I should be. Five hours go by, the longest hours of my life. “She’ll be okay. She’s strong. She’s okay. She has to be,” I think to myself. I fight back tears, but they get the best of me. I go to the restroom and break down, drop to me knees crying and praying to God to let her be okay, let her beat this.

It’s humbling and paralyzing realization that Rylie is fighting for her life and I have no control. I used to worry about her getting in an accident, worry if she was out late. I worried about lots of things, but I never worried about her getting cancer.

Coming out of surgery.

This is the first moment I will get to talk to her- in recovery.  I walk back, I hear her calling for me. Before she sees me, she’s saying, “Momma, Momma.” She finally sees me and reaches out her arms. I can’t get to her fast enough, my heart is beating out of my chest.  I hug her, kiss her and tell her everything is going to be okay. She says, “Momma it hurts so bad!” I say,  “I know baby, I’m here,” over and over and over.

But all I think is, we shouldn’t be here.

I never stop holding her hand. I never leave her side. I can’t stop crying.  Tears of relief that it was over.  Tears of helplessness.  Thank God it is over. I hoped will all my being that they’d gotten all the cancer.

The doctor smiles.  Things must have gone well.

Written by Dee Heisler, mother of Rylie, osteosarcoma survivor