I remember the day like it was yesterday. Monday, April 14th, 2008. This was the day that my 3-year-old daughter would be starting a new experimental drug at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The drug was called 3f8. Our every hope was resting on this new drug that was developed to hopefully cure the Neuroblastoma growing inside her and we were there to receive it for the first time on that rainy April morning. I did my research on this drug and it was showing promising results, the bad part however (because with cancer… there is always a bad part) was that the pain was intense for your child. One Mother even told me that it would be like watching your child be set on fire, a pain they have never experiences or can possibly comprehend. And to make matters worse, she would receive it every day for a week – with three weeks off and then back to receive a week of treatment again… possibly for years.
Like most treatments, it is a waiting game. Rush to the hospital and then sit and wait. While we were waiting in agony of what we were about to put our child through, three women from the Dance Therapy Department came in to see us. I know what you are all thinking… dance therapy? Honestly, I was thinking it too. But these women connected to Isabella immediately. They put on relaxing music and played with blue scarves. They moved these scarves back and forth to a slow rhythm as they taught her to breathe with the movement. They taught us how to hold her and rock her in this ocean movement with breathing exercises that focused her.
And then it was our turn for treatment.
For 10 minutes we rocked and breathed together… and then the pain hit. At the age of 3, children don’t know what to do with the amount of pain they are experiencing so they hold their breath. We had to teach her to scream so that she wouldn’t pass out from the pain. The children feel as if their chest is being crushed, their throat is swelling shut and the pain is surging through every limb in their body. We knew that we had to do something to help her because the high dose pain medications that they were pushing straight through her IV to her heart were barely touching the pain. So instead, we turned up the music and began to rock her gently and breathed to the rhythm of the movement that we were all doing simultaneously. That’s when it all came together. It was something for her to focus on and her mind was overtaken by the music, the movement, the breathing in her ear. Our three-year-old daughter who could barely use the potty was doing something amazing in front of us. She was meditating through pain. Read More →