Jack was born on May 11, 2007 at a healthy 6 lb 5 oz. He was happy, loving, and so very smart. Jack was really healthy and never had anything more than a common cold in the first 2 1/2 years of his life. Jack’s days were spend running around with Mommy, playing, play dates, drawing, and just simply being a toddler.
Our second son, Braden, was born on February 10, 2010, just 3 months before Jack’s 3rd birthday. Around this time Jack started running a low grade fever on and off and we just figured that he had caught a little cold. He started complaining that his left armpit hurt him and within a few days, he stopped using his left arm all together. Jack’s daddy, Zac, took him in to the ER on a Friday night because of his armpit complaints and I noticed that his left pupil looked a little smaller than the right. Jack was sent home from the ER with an antibiotic for an eye infection. The antibiotic seemed be working because his fever stopped and he started using his arm again.
I still had a gut feeling that something was wrong and when Braden was only 2 weeks old, Jack started complaining again so we went to his pediatrician. The doctor said he couldn’t really feel anything but he wanted to do an xray and blood work just in case. We scheduled that for the next day. That night Jack’s pediatrician, Dr Salek, called and said that we had to get over to Phoenix Children’s Hospital the following day for a CT scan. As I gave Jack a shower that night I noticed that his neck looked swollen on the left side. Zac took Jack in for the CT scan as I took Braden in to meet his cardiologist. Braden was born with a very large hole in his heart and we had to address that problem as well. While we were there, the Dr called and told me that we had to check in to PCH at that moment because there was a definite mass and it needed to be identified.
After days of tests upon tests and a biopsy of Jack’s neck, Zac and I were pulled in to a very small room and told that our wonderful son had cancer. Stage IV Neuroblastoma. What is that? What is going on? How? Why? Is it genetic? Could this happen to our newborn as well? So many questions and so little answers at the time. The one question that we didn’t ask and refused to even hear the answer to was, “What is his chance?” No matter what, we didn’t want to hear the statistics because we knew they were not good. We didn’t want to hear because we didn’t want it to cloud our thoughts and our hopes for what Jack’s future would look like.
We met Jack’s Oncologist, Dr. Eshun, and knew we were in good hands. He was honest, straight forward, and he truly cared about Jack and our family. We started treatment right away. Jack has gone through 6 rounds of very heavy chemo, surgery to remove his main tumor, stem cell transplant, 20 sessions of radiation, CH14.18 antibody treatment, and Accutane. Not to mention all the endless transfusions, blood draws, overnights at the hospital, pain, meds, and so much more than you would ever imagine a small boy to go through.
Jack NEVER complained. He never asked why. He knew that we had to get through this and that he would try his best to do what he had to so he could continue on with his life. On May 18th (my birthday) Jack had his final treatment scans and they all came back clear! After being told at the beginning that Jack had the most coverage of Neurblastoma than they had seen in 35 years, to hear that he was clear was unreal. Our son beat the odds. The odds that we never wanted to hear, he beat them.
Jack had his broviac removed 2 weeks after his final scans and was finally able to take a shower, swim in a pool, play with water guns, and in general…be a boy. He is happy and loving and so appreciative. He knows what he has gone through and he knows of those who have lost their lives because of this disease. He is an old soul and he told me after hearing of another boy who lost his life, “Mom, we need to do something about this.” He is right. We will, I promise you.