As I begin this Blog I am being challenged to sit down and write. Not a talent the Lord has given me. I am more of a doer. For instance I am ready to clean this whole hospital after being here 12 hours already. I find my way to handle the stress is to move, clean, organize and make lists. So you will find my posts will be short and concise because I have windows to wash. haha
Three months ago now Dominic was complaining of headaches, tooth and jaw pain. A couple weeks later he was saying that he was getting some numbness on his lips. He would have days of pain and then days with no pain. His pain was not localized to one side of his face or the other. I took him to the Dentist where they did a x-ray, thinking it was maybe his wisdom teeth coming in. Everything looked good so he thought maybe it was a muscle issue with his jaw and recommended PT. We started PT and had a some days of feeling better. He still struggled with the pain, headaches and numbness but it was intermittent. On Thursday May 10th Dom had some swelling on is gums on the left side of his face and by Saturday it had spread from the the outer cheek to the inner part of the mouth. I took him to Urgent Care thinking he had a tooth infection and needing to get him on antibotics. They took some labs and ruled out infection and referred him back to his Dentist or Primary care Pediatrician. Monday the 14th I called the DDS and got in on Wed the 16th. He then referred me right away to a Oral /Maxillofacial Surgeon which we saw on the 17th. Dr. Wallace took a scan and examined Dominic. At that time we saw some bone loss at the roots of his bottom teeth. He wanted to consult with a radiologist and think about next steps. He called me 2 hours later and requested to do a biopsy on Fri the 18th at 2pm. On Friday the 18th once Dominic was in recovery Dr Wallace brought me in to go over the surgery. At this point I think I was still thinking that this was a dental issue but I quickly realized we were having another conversation all together. Dr. Wallace wanted to prepare me as the swelling we were seeing was a lesion (tumor) and the pathology sample did not have benign characteristics. He also shared with me that he took a bone sample of the affected area. We talked briefly about bone cancer or Leukemia as he didn't want to spend much time about prognosses until the pathology report came back. I think I retained a third of the conversation from that point on. As you can imagine hearing the word cancer with your child's name is nothing but heart wrenching and soul crushing.
Mike and I decided not to share this information with anyone until we got back the actually diagnoses. Having friends be misdiagnosed in our lives we just didn't want to go there with our family. Also, we were hoping and praying that we would hear good news. This past weekend not knowing was very difficult. I tried not to spend much time looking up those two diagnoses. But I did want to be somewhat prepared. Having a aunt pass away in 15' of lung cancer that had spread to her bones, I was somewhat knowledgable with some of the treatments. So Mike and I did do a little research. We then waited and waited and waited. It felt that with each day the anxiety would get worse. Sleeping, eating and thinking were a stretch by Wed 23th am. I was grateful for a phone call to come in at 3pm. Mike, Dom and I sat with Dr Wallace while he gave us the news that Dominic has Non-Hodgkins's B cell diffuse lymphoma. (something we didn't research) Keeping my eyes on my son as this news was passed on was heartbreaking. Seeing his head bow and his legs start to bounce. His hands clasped together was something I will never forget. Seeing him try to make sense of the medical terminology being thrown at him and his stoic posture was humbling. We spent time talking about next steps and where to go. At this time our son was sitting there trying to process what was just thrown at him.
As I was traveling home Dominics Pediatrician (back-up as his primary was out this week) was already calling me and needing Dominic to come to the medical center to get blood drawn right away and that we needed to make a decision right away as to where we were going to go for treatment. She needed to consult that Oncologist at that hospital right away. She gave us 1 hour while I was on the phone. She also mentioned that if his blood results came back at higher levels that we could be leaving right away to the hospital by air ambulance. OK, Did I mention this was at 3:50pm. 50 minutes after hearing your son has cancer. So, off we go to get his blood tests which were great. Praise
Mike, Dom and I finally picked Children's Hospital in Denver. We picked Children's because he will be able to come home during parts of his treatment. Other hospitals that were recommended would require Dominic to stay for the duration of his treatment. Since we still had no idea what that looked like we decided to choose Children's as treatment could be up to 6 months. Once Children's was contacted and they had time to review his information (9pm) we were called to head into the ER for a chest x-ray. We again were told before we left for the ER to pack a bag and have it ready just in case the X-ray showed tumors around the lymphs of the heart which were critical. So off we went praying that the results were negative and we could go home and our prays were answered. But the Oncologist at Children's wanted us there on the next day so we quickly pulled our resources together to help and left Thurs for the airport at 12:30pm. We arrived in Denver at 3:40pm