Frank and Denise Sherwood walked into the office of Dr. Maxwell MD Hematologist/Oncologist (Pediatrics). Frank was carrying their 3 year old Molly . Denise signed in and looked around and sat down. Molly sat on her father's lap because Denise was 6 monthe pregnant. After waiting 20 minutes later they were called into the doctor'e office . He explained Molly's illness Aplastic Anemia, and the treatment for it. Frank kissed Molly's head "Will this cure my baby?"
"There's no way to guarentee that it will," he replied. "But doing nothing is not an option. We have to replace the blood cells she's losing and force her system not to reject them at the same time. That's the first step, see if she even responds to this. She's already significantly run down by the illness itself, suppressing her system is a risk but at the same time, it's really all we can do given the sudden onset and severity of her case. We'll do this trial, if it fails we'll go immeditaely to bone marrow transplant." Frank held Molly closer, she was dozing in his arms, his vital playful baby went from a nonstop running to this quiet, lethargic little scrap in three weeks time.
Denise reached out to touch her child. "How long do we have to wait to see if the medicine works?"
"About 2-3 weeks,if it doesn't work we'll need to find a bone marrow match." Frank adjusted Molly's position "can't we be tested ?" "Yes you will and any other family members that want to be." All arrangements were madeto start treatment the next day. Molly would be admitted for 48 hours to monitored during treatment.
She looked up at Frank, "Daddy, you stay with me?" Molly was frightened. Her Mommy was crying and her Daddy too. Daddy loved her, she knew that as best she could as a little girl, but may times Daddy left all day long and didn't come home until it was dark outside. She wanted him with her, Daddy would make everything all right. Frank nodded, "I promise baby girl, I'll be there the whole time." He looked at Denise, "I dare him to tell me no."
The next morning the Sherwoods showed up at Mercer to admit Molly. The nurses on the floor also supplied two recliner chairs for them to stay with with her. Later that afternoon treatment was started via I.V.'s which Molly didn't like. At night they slept in the chairs and once or twice Molly slept in Frank's arms .
Frank rocked his little girl...she started shaking about 40 hours into the treatment..."Denise...Dee, get a doctor." He put his hand on his little girl's head, "She's soaked through!"
Denise sighed, "I know honey. She's supposed to be; it's her medicine. Her body reacts to it, we're killing her immune system, it's fighting back. Just hold her."
Eight hours later her fever abated somewhat and she lay sleeping in her bed. Frank stood watching her biting his nail, as Denise stood next to him holding her belly. "I'm scared frank I have a feeling this isn't going to work. I spoke to my sisters and they said they would be tested." She leaned against him emotionally and physically tired.
He held her tight, "If it doesn't work, we'll find something else that will. Is it me or did she shrink?"
Denise laughed, "She didn't, hospital beds tend to dwarf children. I remember just after Jermey was born you crash up that old buick. You were in the hospital for that pins in your shoulders. You looked so smalll to me."
"She's our baby and she's petite any way. " Frank held Denise close and rubbed her belly . This was his family and he needed to do something to make it whole again, but he was at a stalemate waitng for answers from the doctors.
Molly woke up the next morning tired and rubbed her little eyes. "Daddy, can I go home today? I miss Wiggles." Wiggles was Molly's stuffed kitten that she never left home without. She was told she couldn't have her in the hospital. "I know princess. I know. We'll see when the doctor comes. You want to sit on Daddy and eat some oatmeal?"
The doctor came in and saw Frank feeding Molly oatmeal and Denise resting in the recliner. "Molly can go home today and I want to see her in my office in 3 days. Keep her in the house and away from any sick individuals because her immune system is compromised."
Frank nodded, "Hear that, princess? You can go home. And guess what?' Molly looked up. "Daddy is going to stay home with you, the entire week. Would you like that?"
Molly nodded and Denise got up and started to pack her bag. Later that afternoon when everybody was home the three Sherwood's took a long nap due to the exhausting ordeal they had just gone through. On Friday they went to the doctor aand Molly had blood tests and its showed Molly's counts were still low and another round of treatment would be started in 2 weeks.
"What about our match blood tests , do we match?" asked Frank.
"You do not match at all," he replied. "You have common DNA but not common in regards to cellular make up. Mrs. Sherwood did match but as she's pregnant she is not able to donate until after the baby is born. Still we aren't there yet."
They went home trying to be upbeat for their child but it was hard. Two weeks later they went through the whole ordeal of in hospital treatments. The dosage was a little stronger and Molly got even weaker. Frank and Denise were even more concerned then ever. After 36 hours Molly went home and was told to be back at the doctor's offive in 3 days.
She had to go back to the hospital that night. She woke up crying and complaining of back and leg pain. Frank held and rocked her close to him using his shirt to absorb the blood running from her nose and her mouth. He held her whie Dneise sped to the ER where Molly was pulled from her fathe'rs arms and rushed into an isolation room. Frank sat down, covered his face and sobbed openly, not caring that many soldiers were gathering in the waiting room after a jump accident.
Denise and Frank held each other in the waiting room as they waited for Dr. Maxwell. He walked toward them 30 minutes later . As they stood he waved them down, "We have a problem .Molly is in crisis and we need to find a donor ASAP. I got the results from your siblings' blood tests Denise and they don't match." Denise sniffed holding tight to Frank's hand, "What do we do now?"
"In my opinion go to the media and make a plea for people to be tested. It may be the only chance Molly has."
Denise got a hold of Claudia Joy and by the evening news it was on the air. She also had a friend who put it on the nationwide news.
That yielded no results, so the reporters took another tactic, an in room interiew with the couple and their sick child. The reporter wore a mask and gloves, as did the little one's parents as the described the sudden roller coaster their life was on and how they still mourned their son killed in the war on terror."
At the end of the broadcast Frank and Denise were in the hall pleading for anyone to be tested because this was their child's only hope. The camera did a close up of Frank then Denise.
In La Jolla California on a T.V. screen was a picture of Denise Sherwood and a woman's voice said "Oh my God, Sarah Harm come in here please hurry."