Mom of Toddler With Leukemia: Live in the Moment

Skordahl Family fighting childhood leukemia

As the mom of a 4-year-old son in the midst of cancer treatment for leukemia, I need my precious Jack to be surrounded by love. Your support of CaringBridge makes that possible.

My silly, happy, well-spirited boy has a full year left of chemo that gives him stomach aches and a face rash. One of the chemo drugs he takes makes his fingertips look really dark, and sometimes his eyes look sunken.

And for eight days each month Jack is on steroids that make him feel irritable and tired … with anxiety and intense hunger. He rubs the corners of his mouth so much with his blanket to soothe himself that he has red marks. These weeks are super-draining, as my husband and I try to help Jack through.

<i>4-year-old Jack picking flowers</i>

4-year-old Jack does a dandelion dance

Jack has been on this rollercoaster since he was 2. For a few months before his second birthday, he had intermittent vomiting and coughs. We had been working with doctors to figure out what was going on. But then came a high fever.

My baby was admitted to the hospital and received a transfusion because of low blood counts. A bone marrow biopsy confirmed our fears; Jack was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia.

Although this news was devastating, we are grateful that this form of leukemia has a very good prognosis and cure rate.

Team Jack

I’m honestly not sure who told me about CaringBridge. Maybe it was friend? But I started Jack’s site as soon as he was diagnosed. We asked everyone to please join us as we go through this journey of healing, recovery and hope. With God and all of you, we are TEAM JACK!

I had a strong faith before Jack’s diagnosis, but since then it has grown and changed. In my prayers I ask for only what I need to get through today, not for what is to come.

It is a long road in this three-year treatment plan. Jack has a full year left … if nothing else comes up. There are still a lot of unknowns, and my Mama Bear will keep coming out as I advocate and push through to help my son.

But I know that God’s plans for Jack are good. And I know that through CaringBridge I will always have a place to turn when I feel scared or need comfort or hope.

We don’t know what may come or what normal will look like—as if cancer is in the picture of any normal you would imagine for a family to deal with. But we are living this … it is real.

I am not strong alone, but I look to God for strength and live one day at a time.

What have we learned in this journey with Jack? You hear this so often, but we mean it: Live in the moment. Slow down. Be meaningful with your time and what you do.

I hope you can feel the impact of your support on my family. May every family who has been what we have been through know how much CaringBridge helps.

New to CaringBridge and Wondering What We Do?

CaringBridge is a nonprofit social network dedicated to helping family and friends communicate with and support loved ones during a health crisis through the use of free, personal websites. Know someone who could benefit from starting a CaringBridge site to keep loved ones informed and get the love, and support they need?

Learn more

Comments (57)

Post a Comment

Jenny goben Sep 24, 2019 12:07pm
Praying for you and your family. My son was 5 and has downs syndrome when he was diagnosed with all. I cannot even describe the pain our family felt as he got so sick. And with having an already suppressed immune system it was even worse..But there is still hope. My son is now cancer free thanks to st judes in Tennessee. And it did not cost us a dime. He got a bone marrow transplant. He is now 25 and doing great. Prayers can do many good things. I know it's the hardest thing I've ever been through. God bless you and your family in your journey!
Robyn Wallace Oct 07, 2018 2:00pm
Prayers for Jack that he will beat leukemia. This disease has affected my family too.
Joy WEIKLE Jul 25, 2018 7:34pm
Steven Barrett Jul 05, 2018 10:40pm
God alone has been able to track all the times I've been admitted to hospitals and taken who remembers what for all sorts of medical treatments, procedures and surgeries I've had to have performed in both military and civilian hospitals from the time I was a little kid dealing with TB, later thyroid cancer, major oral surgery, a splenectomy and recently a stroke. And He's kept me alive and well for the past 66 years. He never leaves us and He'll always listen even at times we're confused at to whether or not we're convinced God's heard our plea or that of our loved ones. He's always there no matter how little, young , bigger and older. He's there and He'll strengthen us. Jack's in my prayers and so are you, his very special and caring parents.
Colleen Watts Jul 05, 2018 7:32pm
My prayers will include your son Jack for comfort and healing each day. Trust your faith and the medical team for Jack's care.
Laure Jul 05, 2018 7:39am
Thank goodness for your faith. God will be there with Jack and your family every step of the way. He will also have hands on the medical team working with you. Sending lots and lots of prayers. Stay strong.
Christi Jul 04, 2018 3:03pm
Lori, It is hard to know what to say to a parent of a child with cancer. I am praying for Jack and his medical team. The power of prayer is amazing. I am praying for him to have comfort, strength and stamina from side effects of chemo and steroids. I pray that his family and caregivers will take it one day at a time and enjoy the moments of good news and him feeling well on days he feels better. I am praying for you all to feel God's arms to wrap around your family and Jack each day. Children are resilient and stronger than we realize. He knows he is surrounded by love. Keep us posted.
Lori Jun 30, 2018 10:51pm
I'm adding Jack to my prayer list. My daughter is 14 and almost 2 years into treatment for ALL, as well. So much of what you shared is what gets us through this journey, too. One day at a time is our prayer from day one. God is faithful. Lifting up your family tonight. May God bless you on your journey.
Sheila Pederson Jun 22, 2018 5:20pm
Wishing the best for Jack! You are an amazing and strong kid.... you are a true warrior.... Go bless you and your family 💙
Adeola Esan Jun 22, 2018 12:24pm
Hi, I do not know you nor do you know me, but the pain that Jack and your family are experiencing touches me. I will keep you and your families in my prayers because through the power of God nothing is impossible. Even though you all are experiencing what no one should experience, you keep your faith intact. You help me to push through everyday battles because I know a little boy is still fighting something worse than the worst things I experience. Thank you for sharing this story.
Kathy Jun 22, 2018 12:22pm
Praying for Jack for a complete recovery. Prayers for you all.
Joyce E Worley Jun 20, 2018 2:54pm
Jack is adorable and he has the love and support of two wonderful parents. Many people fail to grasp the beauty of each day and the happy things even in face of the hard things. You are facing many very hard things but love, family, friends and faith will help you see and appreciate the happy things too. Sending love (please tell Jack I LOVE his dandelion dance!).
Gail A Vold Jun 19, 2018 12:28pm
Bria, I have followed many on Caringbridge site. I would love to follow Jack & your family. I'm so very glad that you have faith. It is the only thing that gets me through every day. I am pushing 70 hard & have been married for 46+ years to a handicapped veteran of almost 20 years on submarines, Now he's dealing with severe central nervous system damage & early alzheimers & I have many medical issues myself. However , I find that when I am focusing on praying for others it makes my life easier. I worked for more than 45 years as a nurse in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Atlanta until getting sick in 2002 which ended my career. I have learned that when you lay your cross at the altar & had a chance to pick up any cross that more than likely we would pick our own cross back up. Everyday when we are hurting so bad... if we look around us we would be thankful for what we are dealing with in our life. Know that as of today I will be adding you to my prayer list, I would love to start sending cards to Jack & small gifts. I'm on Facebook so you can contact me there to send me your info & I will send mine. Sending much love! May God shower you all with small & large Blessings this week. Much love, Gail Vold
THOMAS J RODRIGUEZ Jun 19, 2018 11:50am
Oxana Zemtsova Jun 19, 2018 8:00am
Your son is adorable! I wish him a full and quick recovery and much love and strength to your family.
Laura Sachs Jun 19, 2018 1:01am
Thoughts and prayers are with you and family. My daughter had 6 heart surgeries by age 4. She went code blue, was given little hope and things just kept going wrong. Now? She is a beautiful 30 year old college graduate and doing well! Keep the faith!
Maria Jun 18, 2018 12:07pm
Hi again Bria, Jack is a beautiful child , thank you for sharing. God bless all of you
Pamela Short Jun 18, 2018 10:29am
What a beautiful boy. Prayers for him and for you and your husband.
Maria Jun 18, 2018 6:07am
Hi Bria, I am so sorry, talking to God ,our Father, Is the only way to get through these mountains when we are faced with them. Are you a born again Christian, if so Jesus suffered on the cross, and he has promised that anyone who comes to him, confesses and repents of sin and lets Him live in us, He will grant eternal life but better yet, He suffered a horrible death,so we can be healed and “ by His stripes we are healed” I will pray for you and your family for strength and light and for Jack strength and healing and protection from illness. Jesus does not want his children to suffer.
Greg Erickson Jun 17, 2018 1:11pm
Dear Bria, I am honored to be a member of team Jack. We are also believers in Jesus Christ, our savior and redeemer. My wife and I extend our love to you and we will be keeping Jack and you and his dad close in our prayers. We pray for complete comfort and healing for Jack, as he endures his treatments. I am weak, as well, but with prayer and faith in Jesus, we are made strong. We also take one day at a time and are grateful for the many blessings we receive. Jack is a blessing, not only to you, but to all of us, as well. He is truly an inspiration to others, including myself. We will lift him, his family and friends high in prayer, right along with all of those who are helping to provide him with loving care; the doctors, nurses, therapists and everyone. We pray for encouragement and that Jack, you and your husband continue to know and feel the presence of God through the Holy Spirit, as He is alive and works through His people. May God's blessings pour out on you, your husband and Jack and all of those who surround you forever and always!
Roger A Randolph Jun 17, 2018 11:41am
Jack, You, and Your Husband are in my prayers as of this reading. Prayer is powerful , and I am a believer in prayer. A very good friend and neighbor had leiukema and., they are coming up with new treatments and Your Jack, Our Jack will survive this terrible disease.
Lillian Jun 17, 2018 10:31am
Being part of Team Jack is an honour. As you live each hour and each day, may you know God is carrying each of you in His love, strength and mercy. He will not let go... My daughter was 7 when she had her first cancer and is now 38. Know you are not alone. I wll hold your family up in prayer. Blessings always!!!
Blair Cochran Jun 17, 2018 7:20am
In prayer Jack will be lifted up and wrapped in Gods loving and healing arms forever!
Mike Jun 17, 2018 6:07am
Bria, Our most recent experience with Caring Bridge is our grandson . Peter was a "premie" born almost 3 months early, under 2 lbs. He had his 3rd birthday June 9. It had been a struggle and he was on oxygen etc for his first year+. He is now a joy to all. Caring bridge not only helped with donations of money but prayer support help with care for his 2 sisters and the list goes on. Please continue to update your Caring bridge "family" as Jack's journey is important to us as to you. Carolyn and I will keep your family in our prayers.
Patricia Horelick Jun 16, 2018 9:44pm
I'm glad you reached out to us strangers but also caring people who will love you from afar and pray for you and you precious boy. If you ever need a grandmother person to yltslk with please PM me, Patricia Horelick or on Facebook and I can also give you my phone #. God us our strength and hope and a mighty present help in time of trouble.❤
Helen Exarhos Jun 16, 2018 6:19pm
Thank you for sharing your pain with us. I hope it helps to a little comfort. My daughter had bee n sick for a long 16 years. When people connected with her, she had felt so uplifted. I am hoping and praying for the best and for God to send His Blessings. Love, Helen Exarhos
Vicki Jun 16, 2018 6:02pm
Prayers for Jack on this healing journey🙏
Frank Jun 16, 2018 2:21pm
Yes Jack is on my prayer list now. God has got a great plan for him. Please email me your postal address I will send him a prayer blanket from our church
Donna Blauw Jun 16, 2018 1:47pm
What a awesome story and I mean awesome because you are honest and forthright about what you are going through, but also know ow that God is in charge no matter what. I will be praying for you and your doctors. Would love to be a part of your Caring Bridge team.
Dale Joyce Jun 16, 2018 1:09pm
I would like to be on your list and get updates. I too am living in pain with Systemic lupus. But I am older. A small child should not have to deal with a disease like that. I will pray for him and for you and your family. Please know that I care.
Kaneisha Brown Jun 16, 2018 12:24pm
I’m so sorry to hear about precious little Jack ❤️ My heart goes out to you guys. I’m currently a mom of a sickle cell disease baby we have our share of stressful days trying our hardest to keep Ethan calm. Prayers from our family to yours.
Allen 'Sven' Stockman Jun 16, 2018 12:13pm
Thanx for contacting me. I would be glad to be part of Team Jack. To start out with I will be praying for Jack every day. I have a strong faith in our Saviour - Believe - Love - Pray- Share. As you stated about Jack: > "....silly, happy, well-spirited son" < you can tell Jack he is not alone in being silly and happy<<< I have those endearing qualities also LOL (most of the time) <<< Jack you are in my prayers
Sandy Coble Jun 16, 2018 12:05pm
Dear Jack, The world is praying for your return of health. We love the fact that you are a hero among us all. Your angels are right there with you helping to cure this broken body of yours. We know it will be a tough fight but we also know that you are ready for this fight and you will win. You are a winner Jack and we all love you.
Angie Jun 16, 2018 11:59am
Thank you for sharing the story of your beautiful little son. I too know how important it is to have that strength and peace some days only found one Jesus. I I’ll be praying for lil Jack to be comfortable and full of joy as these treatments do their job and set him free of this illness. I will also pray for continued strength for you and all your family as well as an ever growing peace and joy for you, his momma. I pray for wisdom and guidance for all the doctors and nurses who are overseeing Jack’s healing process. Blessings and hugs from one momma to another! How about you give Lil Jack an extra hug today and tell him it’s from another friend added to Jack’s team. Go Jack!
Lucy Jun 16, 2018 11:57am
Praying for your family & sweet adorable Jack. In my career ( now retired) I was a Pediatric Nurse. I love kids. Although I do not know you personally, God does & loves you. I am picturing Jack in God's arms as I pray.
Eva Szabados Jun 16, 2018 10:53am
I pray for Jack!
Ernie oden Jun 16, 2018 10:26am
Dear family, your strength is enormous! Keep hope alive ,keep your head to the sky ! I will also be praying for jack. May god continue to bless you
Catherine Turner Jun 16, 2018 10:24am
His Will is not ours. Never can a mother understand the "why." The main healing medicine is your faith, as a believer and as a mom. God is always with you. Through Carin Bridge, we too, can walk with you. Today, Jack is in my Rosary. Today are the Joyful Mysteries, walking with Our Lord from his Immaculate Conception through His being found in the Temple teaching! Submitted with mama love and respect, Catherine
Dawn Criswell Jun 16, 2018 10:19am
Glad to be part of Team Jack! Prayers are being lifted for him and you and your husband. I believe in the powers of prayer and positive energy. We are all connected (I believe through the Holy Spirit)!!
Cherie Jun 16, 2018 10:17am
Dear Skordahl family, I am praying for Jack's continued Improvement and that the next year will bring him a cancer free diagnosis. Steroids are very helpful but at the same time the side effects make it feel like you have two battles instead of one. I turn into someone I don't know we're going to have to have these injections in my back from the advanced osteoarthritis compressing on nerves but I have learned how to cope. Always staying positive and remembering others who have it far worse puts it into perspective for me. Hearing your story reminds me of how fortunate I am. I pray for Jack's continued recovery and for your continued strength. You are his rock and his soft spot. He will fully recover, especially with the determination and resilience that he already shows at such a young age! He is a very happy and humorous little guy who is finding his own way of dealing with this significant challenge. It speaks for itself his family is extremely loving and supportive teaching Jack how to cope. I pray that you find comfort with the CaringBridge website and support given to you by everyone. I have a friend who is fighting ovarian cancer and this is the first time I knew about Caring Bridge. This is a wonderful way to keep everyone together and continue the support that you need. God will heal Jack and continue to give you support. I will keep you in my prayers daily. Take care, Cherie, Vancouver, Wa.
Roy Brook Jun 16, 2018 10:04am
I would like to know where this family and Jack live. If I can show my support for Jack by presenting the American Flag where Jack can see it. Like I've done for Ben Abercrombie.
Diane Hegyi Jun 16, 2018 10:03am
My prayers for you and your little Jack. God will keep you all in his loving arms and the dedication of the Caring Bridge family will care, pray and support you every single day and moment. God Bless you Bria, young Jack and your family.
Ron Swatek Jun 16, 2018 9:41am
My wife had a lumpectomy in 2001,cancer free until 2016,then diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer...hell of a journey...pain meds everyday, Ibrance plus letrozole , 80mg OxyContin 3 x day plus dilaudid 6mg 2-3 x day...lots of fun
Pastor Gail Jun 16, 2018 9:24am
Team Jack... Your words are inspiring, Bria... one day at a time...I will pray for strength and healing for Jack and all of you. Your love and care are a powerful gift to little Jack. He is blessed by you.,.. and we are all blessed by your family. Thank you for your words. Prayers for all of you,.
Nancy Menzel Jun 16, 2018 9:13am
May God send three of you the strength to get through each day and a next year filled with healing for little Jack, who sounds like he has incredible sprit and resilience. When our sweet grand daughter went through two years of open heart surgeries for a congenital heart defect I remember how difficult this journey was for the entire family. Sienna has now gone 4 years without another heart surgery and she is happy, healthy and full of life! I pray for God’s grace and blessings for little Jack and you two wonderful parents.
Janet M. (Miller) Barnes Jun 16, 2018 8:58am
Oh, thank you so very much for sharing your family story and history with us today! I had no idea that someone so very young could come down with leukemia and what would come next for that child and his/her family. I shall continue you ALL in my prayers and trust GOD to bring complete healing for this little boy, Jack. I will try to contribute another donations next pay check. Take care and GOD BLESS YOU ALL!!!! Love, Janet (SMILE)
Evata Wallace Jun 16, 2018 8:50am
May God comfort you and give you peace as you continue this journey. I had a similar experience as my 5 year old son had acute lymphatic leukemia in1964 when the chem treatments were very new and most of the children were not surviving more than 6 months.. He was treated at NIH and had to remain in the hospital without his family for 3 months. He went through chem for one year and then once a week for another. After that he took drugs at home for ten years. Yes God does work miracles. He is now 59 years old
Barrie Davies Jun 16, 2018 8:42am
I had cancer (intestines) in 1988, it was treated and to this day I only need a strong laxative. So, Jack and family, cancer can be treated and cured. Keep your heads up, and Jacks when the medicine is making him feel bad, because that will go away ! Good luck, from Barrie in the Netherlands
Judith Cardona Jun 16, 2018 8:37am
Don't give up. You are more than half way there. My son got same kind of lukemia, and God healed him. For God nothing is impossible. Keep praying and claiming healing over his life. If God is for us who can be against us?
Nyokabi Jun 16, 2018 8:34am
This is Wonderful. What a strong boy Jack is.I am Praying for him🙌 to continue being strong and total healing at last. You and your husband are wonderful parents
Pam Clayton Pylant Jun 16, 2018 8:22am
Praying for your sweet baby. Praying for your family. Believing in faith God will heal and restore Jacks health completely in JESUS name amen
Carol Jun 16, 2018 8:21am
Sending prayers and hugs for all of you❤️🙏 Caring Bridge is a great site to be on. My niece had breast cancer and I, also know of another person on here. The continuous support and love on here does wonders.
Katherine Nychuk Jun 14, 2018 9:18pm
What a heartwarming story....I will certainly pray that your positive thoughts continue and Little Jack’s health improves....second by second. You all will be in my prayers. God bless all of you
Deb and Ron Bigley Jun 13, 2018 11:48am
Cancer journeys are so tough! They are unique for each going through them, but especially hard for young children . Chris and Bria have been amazing parents going thru this. Jack has been such a trouper as well! Prayers continue for you all as you navigate yet one more year of treatments .
Joan Jun 11, 2018 1:06pm
Hi. I ask Lynn always "how is Jack?" She is always positive. Glad to hear he still has his sense of humor and a happy little man. Praying for the Skordals.
Nancy Smith Jun 10, 2018 1:58pm
As you walk this journey with Jack,may you have peace, comfort, and strength in our Lord. Dear God give the doctors and the caretakers the wisdom to help this little man. Amen
Sharon Lutz Jun 09, 2018 1:42pm
God bless Jack and your entire family. As the grandma of a ALL child I remember those days of chemo,steroids and the changes it brings to your family. A Our beautiful Addi is now 10 and it has been 6 years since her last chemo but cancer changed us all. I pray for smooth sailing ahead as Jack finishes his treatment.