Amy Johnson doesn't remember much surrounding the days following her daughter's diagnosis with cancer. Instead, she prefers to focus on the positive results of treatment and the long-term outlook.
"Honestly, everything's fine," said Johnson, who reflects on the moment a year ago when her 2-year-old daughter, Molly, was diagnosed with Pre B Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, or ALL for short.
The Johnson family will share their story during the 2009 Cares for Kids Radiothon. Radio stations 104.3 WBBQ and 102.3 The Bull will broadcast live from the lobby of the MCGHealth Children's Medical Center on Thursday and Friday from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m.
Dozens of stories like Molly's will be featured during the fundraiser weekend.
For Johnson, looking back on that dreadful time of her daughter's diagnosis is like an out-of-body experience. She remembers wondering how her daughter would be a normal 2-year-old if she had cancer. She also remembers that she needed to keep everything as normal as possible for her family, which includes two other daughters.
Today, though, she'd much rather look at how far the family has come from that horrible moment when their world seemed to be shattering into a million pieces.
"First I was in denial, and then scared to death," said Johnson, who along with her husband Eric, learned that their daughter's constant complaints about her arm hurting were more than a toddler with a vivid imagination. "It probably took us about a month to get to the diagnosis."
The Johnsons thought Molly might have had an ear infection that simply caused body aches. Or perhaps her elbow was dislocated again; she previously had two dislocated elbows due to nursemaid elbow, a common condition where the elbow joint becomes misaligned.
"A family friend is an orthopedic surgeon, so he looked at it and casted her arm, which lasted for about 24 hours," said Johnson, explaining that Molly cried out in constant pain during the time her arm was in a cast. "We took her back to Eisenhower for a second set of X-rays and they decided to do a blood draw. There was a huge change in her bone structure in just 10 days."
Eric Johnson, a physician at Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center, called his wife with the news.
"At first it was thought that it may be bone cancer," said Amy Johnson, adding that her daughter was transferred immediately to MCG's Children's Medical Center. "We were initially told that she would have to undergo a 21/2-year course of chemotherapy."
Molly, who celebrated her 3rd birthday Sunday, now is in the final phase of chemotherapy. She will end her last monthly treatment in February 2011.
"She was in the hospital for about a week right after she was diagnosed, and then her treatments were done on an out-patient basis," said Johnson. "We were doing treatment once a week, then once every 10 days and now we are in the final phase of chemotherapy which is termed long-time maintenance where she gets treatment once a month."
Now in preschool, Molly is doing well. Her cancer has a 94 percent cure rate and is the most common among children younger than 15 years old.
"She's doing fine," said Johnson. "If you had to get a cancer, this is the one to get."
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.