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Aug 1, 2016
What a year and a half it has been? Getting cancer treatments for yourself and your Mom while adding a new baby brother into the mix is not the kind of thing you would ever expect to happen to your family. For my family the excitement started in May 2012 when Mommy and Daddy told us we were going to have another little baby. Then came the Waldo Canyon Fire in June which forced us to evacuate our home for a week. After enjoying a short family vacation in Utah with my Cousin Roman I was just starting my first full-time school year the last week of August. I had been feeling kinda funny during vacation; my tummy hurt sometimes and I kept getting really cold every time I went swimming. Once school started I igot more tired each of the first three days of class. Then I popped a fever that third night so it was off to see Dr. Luebbert the next morning.
He looked pretty worried when he first saw me and then he sent me and Mommy over to a lab to get some blood work done. I think Mommy scared Daddy when she called him at work, to say that they needed to take me to the Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs. I felt a lot better right after they gave me some new blood that first night but the next day, August 24th, Dr. Cook told us that I had leukemia. Wow! Then Saturday we found out it was the worse of the two kinds and up I went to Children’s Hospital to begin multiple rounds of chemo. Mommy and Daddy had to talk to the doctors a lot that first week about what my treatments should be and if I would be part of a study that could help other kids like me. They also had to figure out how one of them would stay in the hospital room with my while somebody stayed at our house to take care of Caroline and Ethan over an hour away from home. I know Daddy's boss Mr. Reed and all the people at Compassion were very helpful and nice about not making Daddy still have to go to his office every day to work.
At first we hoped that my treatments would only take four months and we would could all be back home together in time for Christmas. After my first round of chemo didn't work we didn't know exactly how long I was going to have to stay in the hospital but it was going to be a lot longer because I was going to have to have a stem cell transplant. I didn't get to leave for almost four months while I did all my chemo and little Owen surprised us by being born on Thanksgiving Day right in the middle of everything. Because mommy had another C-Section I didn't get to see Owen for almost two weeks, which was a real bummer. I had to miss out on a lot of important things because I was stuck in the hospital. But right after Owen was born we found out my chemo finally started working to kill the bad cells and I did get to go home for Christmas. Whew, that was a close one!
One neat thing about all this was how much people did to help our family. Friends from our church, Daddy's work and my school TCA all pitched in to make us dinners, do our laundry, raise money for our Dr's bills and lots of other stuff. All my family from Mississippi, Florida and Utah came at different times to help. Thanks goodness Aunt Alisa was already living here; somebody had to teach me about video games since I hadn't really played before. Two of my friend's mom's planned a big blood drive to help all the kids like me that were having so many blood and platelet transfusions (just one of the big words I learned on the hospital). Even ton's of Mommy and Daddy's friends that I didn't know sent us nice cards, gave us money and best of all sent me gifts and care packages. I would have gone crazy being stuck in that hospital room without all those new toys, especially the legos.
So things seemed like they were going better after I had my radiation treatment and and got my new stem cells on January 10th. But crazy stuff was happening with Mommy back home and the very next day we found out that she had Cancer too. Not the same kind as me; mine was blood cancer but her's was a big tumor on her adrenal gland. Instead of chemo she had to get big-time surgery to take it out. Then she had radiation treatment too, at the exact same place I got mine with Dr. Lui. I think she wishes she got to have all my other doctors too because Dr. Eisenman, Dr. Quinones and all the other doctors, nurses and staff at Children's hospital were really nice and did so much to help me every day.
Some other very important friends that helped us a lot were all the staff and volunteers at Brent's Place. Because the cancer, chemo and transplant were killing all of my good white cells we had to be really careful that I didn't get sick and because my transplant was so dangerous we had to stay up in Denver either in or right next to the hospital for a pretty long time. Brent's Place is awesome because it was a really nice place we could live right next to the hospital that was a lot of fun but also very clean and safe for kids like me. Mommy and Daddy kept saying that they don't know how we would have survived this past year without all the help Brent's Place gave us. At Brent's place they were also very generous all the time, but especially around Christmas. One of their nice donors gave me the biggest lego set ever for Christmas; the Death Star. You gotta come to my house and see it some time but if you can't I do have a few pictures of it here on my page.
So we have been very fortunate despite all these tough things that happened to our family. My recovery from my transplant has gone really well even though it can be a dangerous treatment and I haven't had any more leukemia since since that third round of chemo in November 2012. In fact I'm pretty much back to normal now because the doctors just let me start going back to school after Christmas. Mommy just went to Houston to get some more scans and they were clean. She hasn't had any more cancer either for a whole year, now, even though some of her medicines has made her pretty sick along the way.
Owen turned 1 already back in November and he is pretty cute. He has made us feel happy this year even while we were doing these tough treatments. It's also been pretty nice getting to see my Grandparents, Aunt's, Uncle's and Cousin's so much this year; they never came out to Colorado this much before. We also made a ton of new friends this year, meeting other friends and amily's like us who had also had to do cancer treatments The Alvarado's, Goldman's, Ginger, Shorty, Ayla, Audrey and a lot of others.
There have been plenty of sad parts too but prayers from so many people like you have helped us trust God more even when things are scary and sad. The most sad part has been been learning about some of my friends who have died because their treatments didn't work. We still think about Jonathon, Karma J, Millie, Mitch and pray for their families since it is hard even for us to imagine what they are feeling like now.
Well since I've been back home and now in school we seem a lot more busy, even compared to when Mommy and I were doing all of our treatments. So I don't get to write quite as often these days, but I'll still try to keep you updated on what is happening with our family if you keep an eye on this website.