Emerson Hemmert

First post: Aug 21, 2016 Latest post: Dec 22, 2018
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Emerson has always been a very active little boy.  He started walking at 9 months and we've been chasing him ever since.  On July 20 we started noticing Emerson at times was having difficulty walking.  We took him to the chiropractor for an adjustment which seemed to help but Emerson started complaining "hurts to walk" and "leg hurts" grabbing his calves.  We took him to the pediatrician, who ordered blood work and an x Ray.   His first blood draw, July 26th,  came back abnormal and the x Ray normal.  He briefly improved but then got worse again so the Dr. ordered repeat blood work.  After his 2nd blood draw a week later,  the pediatrician called to  let us know that his results came back abnormal again and advised us to have Emerson admitted to ER.   We were nervous about taking him but had a lot of support and encouragement from family.  At this point we just wanted answers. They drew his blood again and took another x Ray but didn't have any clear answers.  We left ER with a referred us to a hematologist.  At this point they suspected either a viral infection in his joints or an autoimmune disease.   Another Dr. called from ER the following day to make sure we followed up.  On Wednesday August 10, we met Dr Walsh, a pediatric hematologist.  She had his blood drawn again, and again the results came back abnormal.  Alarmingly, the off numbers were worse than the previous tests.  Although the Dr. discussed the possibility of leukemia, everyone, including the doctors were hopeful it was a passing viral infection.   He was sedated for a bone marrow draw that afternoon to test for leukemia.  On August 11th when we met with Dr Walsh for the results of the bone marrow test, and felt prepared  to receive the results.    When she told us the bone marrow results confirmed her suspicions that Emerson has childhood leukemia (B-cell acute lymphoblastic), we lost it.  As much as we thought we had prepared ourselves, nothing can prepare you for such a devastating diagnosis.  We received an overload of information that day.  The really good news is that Emerson's cancer is curable with about a 95% survival rate!  He will need about 6 months of intensive chemo treatment followed up by 3 years of maintenance treatment (mostly oral chemo from home).  85% of Emerson's bone marrow was infected with leukemia which was causing his leg discomfort/limping.  Luckily, the cancer hadn't spread into his blood yet.  We received an entire binder full of information but mostly only retained the basic facts, like the fact that our son has cancer but will very likely survive.  The Dr. told us to go home and pack our bags, the hospital would be expecting us at 5 pm for Emerson to get checked in and ready for surgeries and chemo therapy the next day and that we would be there for 4 days.    We went home in a daze, quickly packed our bags and checked in.  Fortunately, while we were having a melt down, Emerson remained his usual happy self.  Unfortunately, the treatment for Emerson's leukemia will severely compromise his immune system and we have been told that at times we will have to severely limit him contact with other people and places.  This will be challenging for us, but  we will do whatever it takes to get Emerson well.  We appreciate your understanding in advance when we tell you we are not able to have visitors.   We are so grateful that Emerson received a diagnosis quickly and for all the love and support we have been receiving.  That's the start of the story and from here we will give updates in the journal section. 

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