It’s been 6 years since we heard those words, “your son has cancer”. The words every parent has a secret fear of, the word that you simply can’t imagine saying, so you call it the “c” word. Well it’s not the “c” word, it’s CANCER, it’s real and it’s affecting way too many children.
Here is an excerpt from the blog that I was keeping during the time of Evans diagnosis and the early and most intense stages of treatment.
Let the Healing Begin
As many of you have heard, our sweet little Evan was diagnosed with ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia) on May 15, 2008. The diagnosis came after several weeks of mysterious pain and low grade fevers. Evan was experiencing bone pain that started in his right leg, then migrated to his other leg, his arms, shoulders and back. We started seeing his doctor in mid March and persisted from one test to the next in search of an answer. Each time they drew blood and ran lab work, his blood counts were well within normal ranges. We had several x-rays, ultrasounds, a bone scan and more lab work, still the blood counts were normal. Finally, and now with a very sick boy that could barely walk, our second trip to Oncology at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford and a bone marrow aspirate revealed the answer to what was ailing our normally healthy, happy, blond ball of energy.
After our initial feelings of shock and despair our focus was quickly diverted to “how do we fix this?” and “how soon can we begin?” The amazing team of doctors and medical professionals at Stanford quickly assured us of how much success they have in treating and curing this disease. In fact it is among the most common and curable of all childhood cancers. We were admitted to the hospital and treatment began later that day. It took a few more anxiety ridden days to learn that it was indeed ALL.
Then a couple weeks later initial bone marrow samples revealed that, within ALL, Evan’s particular type (Pre-B ALL) is COMPLETELY CURABLE! In fact, after just one week of chemotherapy, a second bone marrow aspirate showed that there were NO more Leukemia cells present! His doctors are incredibly positive and have given him an excellent prognosis. WOW, talk about encouraging news!!
In hindsight, when writing this, I was filled with optimism and encouragement, as I should have been. He was going to get better. The reality is that it was really, really scary and a very painful process for him and for his family.
Throughout the first eight months, Evan underwent the tough Induction, Standardization, then Intensification phases of his treatment which required weekly trips to LPCH for chemo in the spine (this was a surgical process that included anesthesia each time), chemo intravenously, steroids, oral chemo, hair loss, sickness, hospital stays and missed school.
Fast forward another 3 years, and finally treatment is over. No more quarterly lumbar punctures, monthly IV chemo, no more nightly oral chemo (sometimes 15 Methotrexate pills a night.. we jokingly called that the “15 million pill night”), no more monthly steroid pulse, NO MORE CANCER!
Evan endured those 3.5 years like a champ, rarely losing the smile on his face, always his sweet, laid back disposition, there, shining through and keeping us all encouraged and inspired along the way. He continued to be very active throughout and was able to play baseball (his passion) every season, only missing the tail end of the spring season when he first became ill.
Our story has a very happy ending. Unfortunately, many parents don’t get the good prognosis and hear the words that their childs cancer is curable. It is my hope that through events like Mama’s Night Out, and caring organizations like Team G and Cookies for Kids Cancer, we will continue to raise the money needed to fund lifesaving treatments for the “rarer” forms of pediatric cancer. Someday, hopefully, all parents hearing those unthinkable words, will also hear that they will get better, and go on to live healthy, happy lives.