To give some background, you have to know Nash. We call him “Crashy Nashy” (and several other iterations of that)for good reason. He is my wide open hell raiser middle child. And very proud of it. Any day of the week you might find Nash dragging furniture across the house so that he can climb onto counters and explore the cabinets or light fixtures. Or jumping off of things, bouncing on the beds or couches, climbing shelves- you get the picture. He is also incredibly tough. So many times I’ve seen him fall and think it’s going to be bad and he jumps up laughing.
So when I noticed extra bruises on his legs right around Christmas, I wasn’t too alarmed. But there was something about the way the bruises looked that just didn’t sit right with me. They looked too uniformly round. And he had been asking me to carry him a lot- but I had chalked that up to being jealous of his newborn sister. So I did call the pediatrician and made an appointment for January 3, but We came down with Covid on December 28, so it pushed
the appointment out to January 12. By January 12 he had begun to develop petichiae- tiny red
and purple dots scattered in a few spots on his body. The nurse practitioner at our pediatrician’s office agreed with me that some of the bruising looked abnormal and gave me the codes to order some blood tests. I ordered $500 of tests the next day, running the gamut from simple blood panels to rare blood clotting disorders. Little did I know all we’d need are the results of the simple $20 blood panel to start getting emergency calls from the lab. The soonest appointment Labcorp had was 1/19 so I booked it, but when he got a nose bleed I really started to
worry and took him at 7am on Saturday 1/15 as a walk-in to the CHOA lab to get the labs drawn. I thought maybe he was severely anemic as I had noticed he was paler than
usual too. As a chronic worrier, I had leukemia and a condition called ITP in the back of my mind too, but I don’t think my brain had fully allowed me to truly believe these
When we started getting calls from the lab on Monday my heart sank to my toes. “Call your pediatrician and go right to the hospital.” Even in the emergency room I held out hope but had a pit in my stomach that we were about to get bad news. At 11pm on Monday night the oncologist looked at Nashy’s blood under a microscope and sat Rick and I down and confirmed that our two year old had leukemia. That was only 5 days ago but it feels like an actual lifetime. In these 5 days my son has had surgery, 3 kinds of chemo, and too many dozens of doses of medication to count. Leukemia is the most common and treatable childhood cancer with a baseline survival rate of about 85-90%. We live 40 minutes away from one of the top ten pediatric cancer centers in the country and we have been receiving the most incredible care for him. I truly believe Nash will beat this, but the enormity of the road ahead watching our child face what no child should face is the difficulty we face.
We were dealt another blow at the end of the first month of treatment when Nash was declared not in remission as most kids are at that point, and as we had hoped. This put Nash on a longer and harder track of treatment to hopefully kick cancer out for good.
He shouldn’t have to be brave at 2 years old, but he is extremely brave to handle all of this with the resilience that he has so far.