Ebony J. Ford
The Last 365
365 days. That’s how long it’s been since the world changed forever. The news that coronavirus had made its way into the United States, and more specifically my area, paralyzed me. The fear that was rapidly gripping the nation, had found it's way into my heart and I sat up many nights scrambling to order certain supplies, ANYTHING I felt that could keep us safe, especially because Reign was in radiation. Reign had just completed her 2nd round of radiation, contracted radiation pneumonia and was very ill. Once she was better, we got clearance to begin her next cycle and while there at the hospital, I got a call from her pulmonologist saying to stop therapy & keep her home until further notice. Little did I know I’d get that notice from EVERY specialist.
We were forced to cancel speech therapy (which began only 2 weeks prior), all vaccinations, dental appts and even her 2nd birthday party. I had made so many plans and spent so much money to make sure her party would be amazing after the year she had just had. But we celebrated at home, shared the birthday pictures she had already taken and we also launched THIS website and blog on her birthday!! The next few months were filled with Zoom speech therapy sessions and appointments but also amazing progress in her health. Reign started doing REALLY well, requiring less oxygen and and eventually none. The daily COVID-19 cases in my area declined and in late July we got clearance to resume in-person speech therapy which was a MAJOR win because Reign didn’t cooperate or learn well from Zoom. Trying to keep a 2 year old still enough to pay attention AND learn was no easy feat.
In September our family took a MAJOR blow. We lost our matriarch, my grandmother to a sudden and short bout of cancer. Anyone who knows me knows she is my world and Reign became hers. I believe Reign came nearly 4 months early, a day before her birthday just for her. Reign was her pride and joy, just as I was. I'm so grateful that Reign was the first and only great-grandchild and got to spent time a week with her in 2019 and saw her a few times despite the pandemic in 2020.
In order to lift my spirits, we decided to go on a short trip to Orlando for our anniversary but first our yearly trip to the pumpkin patch. Despite taking every precaution and going while it was it’s emptiest, we believe our family contracted COVID from this outing—our worst fear realized. While in Orlando, I first experienced symptoms and back home Reign got very sick, VERY quickly. We came home and had her tested. I sensed it but hearing it crushed me. For the next 3 wks we all felt fought different symptoms. Reign battled through 8 days of severe symptoms, required oxygen for the first time in about 5 months, needed around the clock treatments and rapidly lost 4 lbs within 3 wks... She was very sick for about 8 days but turned the corner just before her dad & I got worse despite not eating well and having terrible diarrhea for 2 more weeks. Despite that she got her energy back and began acting like our feisty girl. We lovingly joke that she babysat US and kept herself alive because we were bed and sofa bound.
As we all turned the corner, we discovered that there was great news awaiting us. Our family was chosen as 2021’s March For Babies Ambassadors for the Capitol Region! What an honor and amazing ending to traumatic and stressful year. The other amazing news that came was that Reigns fibromas had not grown DESPITE still being on steroids and not having any more radiation. What a way to bring in the new year!
So as you can see, the pandemic hasn’t been all bad. I started our website and blog, my family got to spend more time together & I mentored 16 families through the NICU. Just this year I’ve started a Clubhouse group Miracle Mamas, held meetups and game days/nights to give back to them and continue to grow that space!
So tell me, what has been the best part of the pandemic for you?