I remember the day we met Tianna and her family. I remember it well. It was just over a year ago when Gabriella was starting her grueling 6 weeks of every day radiation. We were at Lucile Packard for a long day of radiation planning and Tianna was in the hospital being treated for a recent recurrence. We had just connected a few weeks before when Tianna reached out wanting to help us when she heard about Gabriella having the same type of cancer. I remember seeing her mom in the hallway and her little sister Leilani. True to form, they had huge smiles on their faces but their eyes were filled with tears....tears of pain and tears of uncertainty. I remember walking in to Tianna's room. She was sitting up in the chair but was a little groggy from the pain meds she just received. The first thing I noticed were her hands. Her fingers were long and her hands were very thin. I tried to recall seeing hands like these before and I realized they were the hands of someone close to the end of life. Working in an ICU for the better half of my nursing career...one gets familiar with these things. And I thought to myself, "No, it couldn't be. She was a teenager...and teenagers don't die of cancer. They just don't." Claudia and I talked about her new chemo regimen since they were treating her now as a recurrence. I remember feeling so comfortable in that moment with Claudia and I felt like we both just knew....but just didn't want to accept it. Before we left, I had an awful feeling that I wasn't going to see Tianna again and asked if I could hug her...and I did.
The whole ride home, I just thought to myself how unfair and upside down life was. How could a child be sitting in a hospital bed waiting for life to end when she should be worrying about what to dress to wear, who she's going to the dance with and the pimple on her forehead that won't go away....not cancer. Tears fell from my eyes. Adam reassured me that the doctors were going to do everything they could to get her through this. She was a child and they'll do whatever they can to save her. Just a few days later, we found out that she had passed. My heart ached and I just thought to myself, "No, no, no....how could this be? This isn't supposed to happen to a child."
If you want to see where Tianna got her courage from, just watch this video. Her mom, Claudia continues to amaze me.
There will be a "Fight For Gold" Challenge in honor of Tianna located at CrossFit Central at 1:45pm today, August 6th put on by our comrades at Teen Kitchen Project. The following day, August 7th is the scheduled Fight For Gold Angel Tianna Challenge. We need to put an end to childhood cancer so children don't have to deal with this suffering and parents don't have to hold their child in their arms as they take their last breath.