Friday, September 5, 2014

This is Childhood Cancer

September is childhood cancer awareness month. October is usually flooded in pink for breast cancer awareness, and September is gold for children fighting cancer.

Every child's journey fighting the Goliath called cancer is different. David was diagnosed on November 17, 2011 after complaining of belly pain for a day and having a fever. Every family has a different story and so here in this sacred place I will attmept to share how cancer has changed our life. This blog is where I shared this journey and I am forever humbled and thankful when people stop me in the community and ask about David and saying that they are still praying for us.

Immediately he was taken by ambulance to UVA where an oncology resident was waiting for us in the middle of the night. When Dr. Alisanki, the attending, arrived in our hospital room bright and early the next morning I knew we were in trouble. Big trouble as she calmly told us that our baby had cancer. Luckily she waited until later to share that it had metastasized and that he was Stage IV.

A day later, we were huddled around David's bed with dear friends like Ashley and Jason, the Jonas', some extended family and GG and Pops. Jonathan led us in prayer for David as he headed downstairs to a huge sugery to remove his kidney, adrenal gland, and to probe around to look for suspicious spots. God love Dr. Kane, he was the most patient and kind surgeon answering lots of really hard questions we threw at him. The nine hour plus surgery was brutal. Mike struggled the most during the surgery waiting for tidbits and news from the OR. Had they found more cancer? How was our buddy tolerating this huge surgery? Was he going to survive? It was brutal and I held it together until the end when they said it would be another hour. At this point it was past midnight and our supportive entourage was with us the whole time.

Amazingly David made it through that huge surgery and after a week of recovery he started an intensive chemo and radiation regimene. The radiation was the hardest on him and he lost more weight, lost his hair, and lost his sparkle. In the month of June his port had gotten infected and he had three back to back infections. One sad and scary night he got very sick here at home and he was medflighted back to UVA:( Here he is flying in the helicopter.

Our poor buddy endured lots of painful tests, lab draws, port accesses, echo cardiograms, antibiotics, mouth sores, during the chemo and radiation. Cancer treatment is not for sissies. The life-saving regimene of chemo and radiation comes with lots of side effects that often make kids very sick and often are fatal.

David's initial weight on diagnosis day was 56 pounds. He got down to 45 pounds which was scary. We kept him off of a feeding tube by using a calorie booster and feeding him whatever and whenever he wanted. Here is sweet Kyle feeding him an cupcake:)

Cancer is devastating on a family. Here is sweet David and Mike sleeping in after a rough night in the hospital. I will never know how Mike did such a great job as a Dad, superintendent, and Cancer Dad during the nightmare. He balanced it all beautifully on very little sleep and very little time off. I was able to take a leave of absence from my job, but Mike could not. This was also the year our county was renovating one school and building another. only God could have carried Mike through all the stress of the 2011-2012 school year.

Kyle and Hope lost precious time with us, as they stayed at home while we tended to Dave at the hospital. The guilt of not being home consumed us both, but we had to be there with David. He was so sick.

Childhood cancer is a nightmare that we hope and pray we never have to endure again. Despite the drama and fear we saw God move in amazing ways in our lives. He was truly with us each step of the way. I hate cancer, but I will always treasure how close we felt to God during that time, our amazing prayer warriors and friends, and family memories we were able to make in a difficult situation. God was so present with us and He changed us all.

So thank you for loving us through the nightmare, going gold and realizing that kids just like David are fighting this beast every day and that more funding is desperately needed to come up with safer treatment options. Cure Search is a great organization that we support that goes into funding for research. Out of every five children that are diagnosed with cancer, one will not survive. The facts are sobering and scary and sadly childhood cancer is the number 1 killer of children. Thank you for going gold to support the kids fighting cancer!

1 comment:

  1. Still praying for David and his continual fight against this disease. I, too, hate the 'C' word!