ATLANTA - Comforting 3-year old Aubrey as she's is prepped for a blood draw at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Mikeon English is using everything she's got, as a mother and a nurse, to help the youngest of her four children.
"She's very spunky, lots of energy," English says. "She kind of runs our house. She's the youngest, but she makes her presence known."
Aubrey English came into this world fighting, born at just 26 weeks, back in May of 2015.
"She weighed 1-pound and 10 ounces," English says. "She spent a little over 11 weeks in the NICU."
That was Mikeon English's first real taste of medicine as a mom.
She's a nurse at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite, the same hospital where Aubrey is now a patient. Their cancer journey began back in April, just before Aubrey's third birthday.
She's been urinating a lot, so her mother brought Aubrey to see her longtime doctor at Newnan Pediatrics. That's when he felt a hard mass in Aubrey's belly.
"He looked at me and said, 'I've never felt this before,'" English remembers.
After a series of tests, English's phone rang at work. It was the pediatrician, and she knew it had to be bad news.
"He said 'Mikeon, they did find a mass on her liver,' and he gave me the measurements of it," she says. "And, he said, 'I need you to go to Children's now.'"
At the hospital, the Englishes were told that mass was cancer, liver cancer.
"It's called a hepatoblastoma," English says.
It's one of the most common liver cancers in children, and seems to hit youngsters born premature especially hard. Surgeons removed the mass and half of Aubrey's liver. Now, she's getting weekly chemotherapy.
"We have good days, we have bad days, but, overall, she's strong, she's a fighter," her mother says.
Mikeon English's coworkers at the hospital know this is hard on her, too.
"They make sure we have meals," she says. "They make sure I have breaks, and come and sit with her."
And English is journaling, to help Aubrey, both of them, really, one day remember this,
"I just hope that she grows up to live a normal life, being able to go to school," Mikeon English says. "Because she absolutely loves that, and being able to be around other kids."
Mikeon English hopes she and Aubrey can one day use their experience to help other families face their own cancer journeys. For now, they're taking things day by day, pushing through an experience, she believes, is making her stronger.
"I feel like it will make me a better nurse, a better person, a better mom," English says.