When Circumstances Challenge Your Plan
How one family’s battle against cancer brought them to Providence
The Wade Family
Presley, 1st Grade
In the words of Lindi Wade
On April 18, 2014 our lives changed forever. We heard the words that no parent ever wants to hear. Our precious daughter Presley was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). We were immediately admitted that day to start treatment for Presley’s leukemia at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). After eight months and completing the intensive treatment process at CHLA we were released to head back home to Bakersfield to continue fighting the cancer there. Our hearts were absolutely broken, to say the least.
We quickly became acclimated to the various types of chemotherapy, steroids, and other miscellaneous treatments needed to battle this disease. These treatments were given multiple times a day for the next 18–24 months. While living in Bakersfield, Presley suffered from severe side effects of the chemotherapy that caused her immune system to be depleted to a level considered to be in a state of neutropenia— which basically means she had no immune system to fight off even the smallest viral bug. One of our major concerns was the air quality in Bakersfield, because of the high level of air particle matters and the potential of contracting Valley Fever.
Frequently, we had to rush Presley to the nearest emergency room. These emergency visits became a regular occurrence for us. Every time we went to the local Bakersfield ER we were extremely nervous and concerned due to the fact that the local hospital simply did not staff pediatric oncology nurses, nor did they have the experience to properly and safely treat Presley. This made for long all-night visits with lots of stress. We questioned our strength. We constantly wondered, how were we going to do this for the next several years? We turned to the Lord for love and strength, with lots of prayers!
The realization that you only live once rang louder than ever! This big life change happened for us and we felt a calling for more… but more of what? Well, we wanted to live where we could have access to better health care, cleaner air quality, better schools, and a healthy way of life. The Lord led us to beautiful Santa Barbara.
First, we found a house we loved. Then, we started the search for schools for our two children. The proximity to our house and Christian education first drew us to Providence. We came to Providence for a school tour and fell in LOVE. We felt at home! We wanted Presley to attend so much that it made us nervous. What if Providence did not want to deal with our situation? We constantly worried that the load of caring for Presley, a child going through chemotherapy and taking heavy doses of steroids, would be too strenuous for the teachers and staff. Presley was already a little behind academically and would have to miss several days of school a month for treatments at CHLA. She would require more attention than your average child. Providence admitted Presley and welcomed our family with open arms! It made our HEARTS SING that Providence didn’t just take on our challenge, but wanted to help us succeed!
Our family’s situation is complicated. That never stopped Providence and the Providence community from loving us. The families at Providence have made us feel loved and welcomed. The school staff has made us feel safe and supported. We couldn’t be happier to be at Providence! Everyone has prayed for our family and for Presley through this challenging time. It has been a true blessing for our family to be part of the Providence family. God knew our plan better than we did! He brought us to such a special place… to Providence!