Getting Back in the Saddle
By Audrey, a Children's National Hospital patient
I love being around horses, especially Cindy-Lu and Woody. When we jump, it feels like flying. I had just cleared a two-foot jump for the first time when I found out I had leukemia. I was 11.
We were at Children’s National Hospital. A doctor explained everything, but some stuff was hard to understand. My mom and dad cried. I stayed there for about a month, getting chemo and other things like a bone marrow biopsy and a lumbar tap. I felt sick a lot, but everyone on 4-E tried to make me feel better. They’d ask me if I needed a hot or cold pack for my stomach.
I missed my horseback riding lessons and other things I love, like swimming. But the hospital had a lot to help keep me busy, like drawing and coloring in the art room. I loved singing and making music with tambourines and maracas when the music therapy lady came. I worked with Ms. Leslie, a teacher who helps kids in the hospital keep up with school work. I also made medical trivia questions to stump the doctors.
When I came home after a month, my dog, Cheddar, ran straight to me. He was sad while I was gone, but now he’s happy again. I was cleared to ride Cindy-Lu and Woody again about six months after I got home. I still go back to Children’s National for monthly treatments, but I don’t mind it too much. Everybody knows me pretty well. They know what I’ve been through. They’re like family.