The little girl that started it all
Paisley Joyce Collins, known as PayPay was the happiest, smiliest, most full of pure joy little girl you could have ever met. It was rare to see her without a smile on her face. However, during the fall of 2017, she was not feeling the greatest. Actually, neither of our girls were. They had both battled Strep which led to ear infections. It was two months of sickness in our household. We had just finished Thanksgiving and I, her mama Sarah, was set to leave on a cruise out of the country. The day before my cruise Paisley was still not feeling well. I told her daddy, Tyson, that I thought she needed another round of antibiotics due to the ear infection. I called the Dr. and they had a 9 a.m. opening. It was a Monday morning so things were hectic but I took it. I threw some dinner in the crock pot and laundry in the washer and headed out the door with my girls. The initial thought was that she had a blood virus that would heal on its own but the Dr. wanted to go ahead and do some bloodwork to double check. On our way down to the lab I called Tyson in tears. I had never had to do that before so he jumped in the truck and left work to be with us. We had her blood drawn and they told us it would be a couple of hours and to go grab some breakfast and come back. We took the girls to McDonald's and waited. They had also tried taking a urine sample but it wasn't staying put so while we were there I called the dr.'s office back to let them know. She said not to worry about it and to come back in immediately. When we got there the office was cleared and everyone looked like they had seen a ghost. The receptionists took the girls to play and they asked Tyson and I to come back and sit. In that room that I will never forget, we learned the hardest news a parent can face. "Your child has cancer." Paisley's white blood cells were astronomically high and it was definitely indicating that she had leukemia. I will never forget the sound that came from Tyson In that moment, or her entire life flashing before my eyes in all of 5 seconds. Paisley and I were flown to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital that same day. I had no idea when I left my house that morning that I wouldn't return to live for 8 months and I definitely had no idea that she would never return to live again. It just goes to show that you never know what tomorrow brings.
Her and I lived in Memphis, TN for 8 months. Tyson would make the 4 1/2 hour drive every single weekend all while taking care of Bryley at home through the week. Our family all pitched in and would rotate between caring for Bryley or staying with PayPay and I through the week. She was doing great and was on her last round of chemo when a virus took over her body. It attacked her lungs and landed her on an ECMO Machine. It is basically the last form of life support you could be on. She was on that for two months. I forgot to mention that 2 weeks after week got to St. Jude, we found out I was 8 weeks pregnant. Another unexpected and another story in itself. At the end of July, Reed Immanuel-Shane Collins was born. A Memphis baby. A few days after he was born, we were told she wasn't going to make it. I thought the news of having cancer was the hardest news you could ever receive. I was wrong. On August 1, 2016, Tyson and I held our baby girl in our arms for the first time in two months as she passed on to be with Jesus.