- Sophie was a normal, healthy 2 year old until May 18, 2017.
When she got sick, parents Shelby and Jonathan thought their two-year-old daughter Sophie was suffering from allergies. She was struggling to breathe and her doctor suspected asthma. But it would soon be clear that the situation was much worse. Sophie was scheduled to have an allergy test a few days later. But she never got to take the test.
She stopped breathing one night. It’s every parent’s nightmare. Shelby and Jonathan ran to call an ambulance. Minutes later they were on their way to the hospital. It was only then that the doctors could confirm that Sophie was suffering from something much worse than asthma and allergies.
Doctors discovered a softball-sized mass in little Sophie’s chest. She had developed T-cell lymphoma. Cancer. The young girl was suddenly in the fight of her life. Sadly, aggressive chemotherapy failed to stop her cancer from spreading. The treatments impacted Sophie’s ability to walk, talk, use her hands and eat. As little Sophie fought for her life, her parents spent countless hours by her daughter’s side in the hospital.
Sophie’s mom, Shelby, keeps constant watch by her daughter’s side. Shelbys only concern was Sophie and how she was being treated.Her weakened body needed a stem cell transplant.
In this chaotic and difficult situation, the mother noticed a special nurse try so hard to go unnoticed. But Shelby was watching.
After snapping a photo while the nurse’s back was turned, Shelby posted the picture on Facebook page that the parents hade created to document Sophie’s fight against the disease.
“I see you,” Shelby wrote as she revealed everything she witnessed during her daughter’s care.
Mom Shelby writes:
“I see you. I sit on this couch all day long and, I see you. You try so hard to be unnoticed by me and my child.
I see your face drop a little when she sees you and cries. You try so many ways to ease her fears and win her over. I see you hesitate to stick her or pull bandaids off. You say ‘No owies’ and ‘I’m sorry’ more times in one day than most people say ‘thank you’..
”I see all of those rubber bracelets on your arms and wrapped around your stethoscope, each one for a child that you’ve cared for and loved.
I see you stroke her little bald head and tuck her covers around her tightly. I see you holding the crying mom that got bad news. I see you trying to chart on the computer while holding the baby whose mom can’t-or won’t be at the hospital with her.”
“You put aside what’s happening in your life for 12 hours straight to care for very sick and something’s dying children. You go into each room with a smile no matter what’s happening in there. You see Sophie’s name on the schedule and come to check on us even when she isn’t your patient.
”You call the doctor, blood bank, and pharmacy as many times as necessary to get my child what she needs in a timely manner. You check on me as often as you check on her. You sit and listen to me ramble for 10 minutes even though your phone is buzzing and your to do list is a mile long.”
“I see you. We all see you. No amount of snack baskets or cards can fully express how appreciated you are. You are Jesus to us every single day. Our children wouldn’t get what they need without you. Moms like me wouldn’t feel sane or heard without you. You save our babies and we couldn’t do this without you.”
Shelby’s heartfelt message touched not only the nurses she wrote the post for, but also other parents who had similar experiences and also saw that the nurses are the backbone of the pediatric unit. These nurses jobs are unimaginably difficult as they live through the worst times of any parent’s life, over and over again, every day.
Sadly, Sophie never got the chance to grow old and say ‘thank you’ to all the nurses who fought to keep her alive. Her tiny body just couldn’t handle all the treatments and the aggressive cancer. She again relapsed on December 22, 2017 and the family decided to withdraw treatment. Sophie was done. Parents Shelby and Jonathan got 13 days of cuddling, reading, singing, watching movies, and loving until Sophie passed away in their arms on January 4, 2018.
”My goal through this entire process has been to be transparent and honest and shine light on what really goes on during a battle against cancer. I haven’t sugarcoated the bad days but, I’ve also been able to show the great work the Lord has done throughout this. I hope to continue to do that as we continue on without her”, says Shelby.
Cancer is really the worst thing I can think of. Especially when it targets children. Sophie’s story is such a reminder to use all your days as if they were the last. To love like there is no tomorrow.
Her story also shows that the amazing nurses and other hospital staff deserves to be recognized. As healers, helpers, playmates, storytellers, counselors, and comforters, they touch countless lives, caring not only for their pint-sized patients but looking out for their entire family as well. Willingly, they go into a battle most of us pray to avoid. And, they do it day after day for one family after another.
Share mom Shelby’s words about nursery and hospital staff so that more people can read about the incredible work they do.