It has been two months since our last update. We were trying to hold out for January’s scheduled blood test but Hillary has had a minor setback.

Last week, Hillary became extremely lethargic, then vomited and didn’t stop all day. She tried so very hard to be normal — to say it’s “just a bug” — but it’s impossible to ignore the possibility of relapse. Of transfusions and transplants.

It was difficult for our family to relive the sheer terror that comes with bone marrow failure. The four of us hugged in the backyard during Ottawa’s first snowfall.

Snow was Hillary’s first word.

Hillary averted CHEO’s overwhelmed ER, but we still panicked. We consulted the posted ER wait times, repacked our bags, requested accommodation, put the family on stand-by, and reached out to everyone who could help us navigate the pediatric health care crisis. We met virtually with her replacement family physician during her lunch hour, got medication assistance from her responsive pharmacist, and booked an expedited home blood test with LifeLabs.

Every single helping hand brought the GREATEST comfort to Hillary.

Thank you.

Hillary’s levels remain within a safe range. Her hemoglobin fell below normal to 117 for the first time in years, her platelets stayed at 238, and her neutrophils rose to a record 2.4 — likely because she was fighting an infection. She recovered very quickly over the next few days with intermittent headaches.

She’s sick again today. I can’t even think straight.

Hillary’s illness began this way.

We have no idea if she is still trending in the right direction.

We are still playing level impossible.

And the game is now infinitely harder.

At least my health has been restored so I can better take care of Hillary. I feel blessed to again be physically able to do whatever it takes. For her. 

At least Hillary has had two week-long staycations away from home and didn’t get sick. She was such a delightful houseguest at my parents’ house. They were truly shocked at how rich and full her life is. How mature she is. They helped affirm what we already know — Hillary is well-rounded and grounded despite her circumstances.

At least we still have her.

I could explain here all the ways in which things are impossible right now. I wrote them all out in a long list… but then deleted it. You wouldn’t believe half of them and the other half can read like blessings to those less fortunate.

Then, I thought I’d count all the ways in which Hillary is winning at this game she’s been forced to play, but… that list was pathetically short.

So instead, I’ll simply request something of anyone who will listen.

If you can’t do anything else…

…please, please pray for Hillary.

Please pray using whatever Faith you believe in that Hillary will survive this winter.

Please pray Hillary’s heart will get rest from the constant worry of her condition.

Please pray Hillary gets to stay in the loving arms of her family.

Please pray for her sore legs, tummy, and throat.

Please pray for the accommodation she needs.

Please pray for a more meaningful existence.

Please pray for her headaches to subside.

Please pray she wakes up every morning.

Please pray that she never stops singing.

Please pray she will have a match.

Please pray for her happiness.

Please pray for our child.



Hillary was interviewed for and is featured in Chapter 12 of this beautiful tribute to Brian Fraser: One Step at a Time: Reflections on a Battle with Leukemia. Purchase here on Amazon CA. Thank you to Callum and Brian’s loving parents for such kindness and empathy.