Mira's Milestones

Mira, 2008

It’s a big year for Mira; she started the first grade. According to Daddy, she is a very good reader and they both enjoy their special time together reading Junie B. Jones books. She gave soccer a try and now spends some time after school at Brownies and gymnastics. At home, she is often playing with her little sister Julia, building forts with big brother Zac or making sure her many, many Webkinz are well cared for and dressed. 

Summer vacation season started off digging on the beach, jumping in the waves and making s’mores when the family joined her Cincinnati family at Amelia Island. From there, she headed north to visit with more aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. Then, there have been some special trips to Disney World, too. If we listened carefully, we probably could have heard her squeals as she sailed down Space Mountain. The faster the better for Mira! Gleeful as ever, with twinkling eyes, her smile (albeit a bit toothless) and giggle brighten any spot.

Mira, 2007

Mira, 6 years

This year, Mira Bisesi crossed many important life milestones. In January, Mira became a big sister to Julia Rose Bisesi. After the initial “warm-up” period, Mira is very pleased with her new role and loves being mommy’s little helper, caring for Julia.

Then in July, right before she headed north to spend time with some of her many cousins, she fell off the monkey bars. With brother Zac sitting by her side, she was very brave as her broken arm got dressed in a purple cast.

A big step came in late August when Mira boarded the school bus to become an official kindergartner. Since she has always loved books, Mira is very excited that she is learning to read and to write real words. Filled with imagination, she loves playing with some of her special friends – her stuffed animals – especially the little ones that reside in the drawer next to her bed. Every night, she chooses the one that gets the prize place on her pillow. Whether Mira is in pink dresses or her school uniform, you’ll notice giggles of glee, determination and a sense of responsibility in this vivacious little girl.
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Mira, 2006

Mira, 5 years

Sparkle! That in a word describes Mira as she approaches her fifth birthday. Still very much a little girl who loves to dress up as a fairy princess she can also build a terrific fort with blankets and towels to keep her safe from any invaders. Sometimes her room is filled with shrieks of delight when she and brother Zac are having rip-roaring pillow fights; other times you could hear a pin drop as she concentrates on the pictures she loves to draw.

Life in Florida is perfect for Mira who takes to the water like a fish. Fearless, she sails down the water slide, jumps from a high platform and squeals with excitement as she skims across the water on a wave-runner with Daddy. She has made several trips North to visit family. Although she can’t promise to bring Florida sunshine, her sunny disposition warms any room.
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Mira, 2005

Mira, 4 years

If it is pink she loves it and if it is connected to Dora the Explorer that is an added bonus. From pink shoes to pink milk, Mira covers all the bases. She loves to draw pictures, often selecting her colors from the pink palette and, of course, pink ice cream is her first choice. However recent indications are that she just might be moving on to princesses and purple! Since Dad took a new job in Tampa, Mira is now a Floridian. This should suit her just fine since she loves the water. Long before her move was ever anticipated, Mira was an enthusiastic student at her swimming lessons. New members were added to Mira's family when Dad, Phil Bisesi, married Laura Clucus, a widow with a handsome seven-year-old-son Zac. Mira is now an international traveler since she went to Jamaica as a major part of a tiny wedding party. Unfortunately Mira has still had some battles with asthma but she takes her daily treatments in stride. But, with a delightful sense of humor and an infectious giggle, Mira continues to delight all who know her.
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Mira, 2004

Mira, 3 years

Mira, who is now three, might consider a career on the stage. In her short life, she has made several TV appearances for Joan's Fund and immediately says "cheese" when she sees a camera. This winter she toddled off to broaden her horizons at pre-school for three days a week. A very definite, independent young lady, she now communicates with real words. Mira, who loves a good party, missed seeing everyone at the Spring Event. Unfortunately she was suffering from pneumonia and landed in the hospital for five days. This summer she experienced her first big girl vacations at the beach in Alabama and the mountains of West Virginia. With her twinkling eyes and her coy little glances, Mira continues to endear herself to everyone she meets.
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Mira, June 2003

Mira, 2 years

What a charmer! Mira Sophia Bisesi will be two years old in September 2003. Practicing to become the typical toddler, she is eager to assert her independence. Generous to a fault, she sits at the table feeding herself and very carefully dropping some on the floor to share with Wally, her four-legged friend. Her wonderful nature prevails and she loves playing with children of all ages. Mira has had a few bouts with asthma, so regular breathing treatments have been added to her routine. Fortunately, she is very cooperative. When not running full speed from place to place or attending her swimming lessons at the Bexley pool, she can be found on a chair poking the keys of her very own computer.

For those of you who knew of Joan’s fancy for shoes, rest assured that Grandpa Bisesi has used his connections in the shoe business to provide Mira with a pair for every occasion.
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Mira, June 2002

Mira, 9 months

At nine months, Mira weighed in at a hefty 19 pounds and stretched to 28 inches. Those statistics put this not-so-little lady in the 55th percentile for weight and the 75th percentile for height. Pretty amazing, considering she came into the world a full two months early weighing only 3 lbs. 9 oz.!

Mira coos, goos, gurgles and drools while she sits playing with her toys. With a ready and radiant smile, sparkling big brown eyes and a wonderful disposition, she is a real charmer. Mira is quite a social lady and enjoys being with people, big and small. Her heart belongs to Daddy, and fortunately, she loves Daddy’s dog, too. Favorite videos are a toss-up between Baby Einstein (have to start early to get that scholarship to Stanford) and Barney.
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Joan and Mira 2001

Joan and Mira, September 24, 2001. Joan was at The James for surgery. Mira was transferred from another hospital to be with her. The picture was taken upon Mira's arrival

The Bisesi Family, Joan, Phil and Mira

Mira Sophia Bisesi was born on September 16, 2001. Even before her arrival, she had quite a journey, including radiation treatment, pain medication, a PET Scan, and the disruption of an 8-week-early caesarian delivery. Despite her rough entry, Mira is healthy, and the most pleasant, happy toddler you would ever hope to meet. No wonder Joan and Phil named her Mira, a derivation from the English name Mirabel, meaning “wonderful.”

Joan and Phil were planning to start a family in early 2000. When Joan was diagnosed with a recurrence in November, however, the plans had to be put on hold. Joan went through her surgery, started to recover, and then began to undergo radiation treatment.

In March 2001, Joan noticed that her body seemed to be off. It didn’t seem like a big deal, given all that she had been through, but a friend suggested that she might be pregnant. Joan thought the idea was ridiculous, but decided to check anyway. She couldn’t believe it when the test indicated that she was, in fact, pregnant. Even more stunned was Phil, who told her to buy and take three more over-the-counter test products. When all the tests confirmed the initial results, an appointment with the O/G was made.

While the initial ultrasound indicated that everything was fine, Joan’s O/G was concerned that Mira seemed to have been conceived about two weeks prior to the end of Joan’s radiation treatment. The O/G, working with the oncologists at The James, did some calculations, which indicated that, while Mira went through the final two weeks of treatment with Joan, she did not receive a harmful amount of radiation.

Joan struggled over the next four months with pain, nausea, and nutrition. Pain lingered from the surgery in November, but she did not want to over-medicate herself to the detriment of the baby. One of the saddest days for Joan throughout her entire ordeal was the day a doctor told her she would have to go on morphine for the pain and that Mira would have to be weaned off it after birth. Joan worked very hard for the duration of her pregnancy to take as little medication as possible, often subjecting herself to hours of excruciating pain.

There were very few days that Joan felt well enough to be up and around. Whether her sickness stemmed from the pregnancy or the after-effects of the surgery, Joan was extremely nauseated. She could not eat or drink or even emerge from the darkness of her bedroom. Twice, she had to be hospitalized for dehydration.

On top of these issues, Joan had to feed herself and a baby. This was not an easy feat considering that much of her jaw had been removed during surgery and she subsisted mainly on liquid food. These were miserable months for Joan and everyone around, but it seemed that all were willing to hang on in the hope that it would get better. Unfortunately, things only continued to worsen.

When Joan’s second recurrence was diagnosed in August 2001, she was about 6 months pregnant. Joan and Phil knew the situation was serious, and did not know if the baby would make it. To make matters worse, physicians were initially reluctant to perform a PET Scan on Joan, a test necessary to assess Joan’s situation. A PET Scan involves injecting the patient with radioactive dye and performing a scan. Since the situation had never arisen before, the provider was concerned about the liability of performing such a procedure on a pregnant woman. Again, the O/G and oncologists performed mathematical calculations of the breakdown of the radioactive material. Determining that the impact on the baby would be negligible, the procedure was performed. The test showed that Joan was still a candidate for surgery.

Mira was delivered at seven months so that Joan’s surgery could take place as soon as possible. She weighed just 3 pounds 11 ounces, but came out with all 10 fingers and all 10 toes. Mira spent the next three weeks in neonatal intensive care due to her premature status, starting out at Riverside Methodist Hospital, but being transferred over to The Ohio State University Hospital after one week to be with her mom. The two would be together for only a few more weeks before Joan died.

Nonetheless, with the support of family and friends, Mira has prospered.
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The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) 460 W. 10th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210 Phone: 1-800-293-5066 | Email: jamesline@osumc.edu