Not long ago, I was reading a free weekly newspaper at Swami’s Cafe in Encinitas, California, when a photo jumped off the page and into my heart. The photo, which is at once both beautiful and heartbreaking, showed Michiko Lindsey cradling her cancer-stricken child, Kimiko. The accompanying story told of Kimiko’s battle with cancer and of Michiko’s battle to stay sane and strong in the midst of her fear and grief. Deeply touched by what I read, I contacted Michiko and asked her to tell me her story from the beginning. So here, in Michiko’s own words, interspersed with actual journal entries from her CaringBridge journal, is her love letter to her beloved daughter.
KIMIKO ANNA LINDSEY-SCHRODER: PROFILE IN COURAGE
I named my daughter Kimiko because in Japanese, “ki” means precious, “mi” means beautiful, and “ko” means child. She may be only one-quarter Japanese but she is a full-blooded precious, beautiful child. I’ve loved her ever since I first dreamed of her when I was fifteen years old, twenty-five years before she was born.
Kimi’s nurse practitioner had pronounced her perfectly healthy at her annual physical on July 29, 2010, a week after her fourth birthday. Six weeks later, on September 10, her daycare provider called me to say that Kimi was crying because her back hurt. I picked her up and took her to Urgent Care, where I was told that she probably had caught a flu bug. Since we were leaving for Japan later that month, I made an appointment with her pediatrician for September 17, just to make sure. On the 15th, I was thrilled when Kimi called from her dad’s to say that her back pain was gone. But later that day, after going to the movies with her Aunt Dee and Uncle Chris, her leg hurt so much that she couldn’t walk. When Chris called me, I said, “I’ll meet you at Urgent Care.”
Thank God that Chris had e-mailed me the night before. After doing some online research and talking to a doctor friend of his, he had recommended that I ask her pediatrician for a CBC (complete blood count) and MRI. He may have saved Kimi’s life because if (more…)