Today is Spencer’s Cancerversary. I like to think I made that word up. It has been exactly one year since he was diagnosed with Pre B Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. One year ago today, Chris and I were informed that our little boy, who was going to turn three in two days had cancer. I freaked out. I posted here after the family phone calls were made. I had a social worker from the clinic up my anti depressants. I posted on Facebook. All I could think about was the word Cancer. I was terrified and in shock.
My Mom pointed out to me the other day that four million babies are born a year. Four MILLION. And there are four thousand diagnoses like this a year. Those odds suck when you look at them numerically. Like insanely suck.
BUT one year into treatment and we are past the worst parts. The stuff that we went through over this time has been tremendous, but I am so inspired by our boy. He has been hospitalized, had transfusions, had Chemotherapy, had steroids that made him look like Jabba the Hut, had 15-20 Lumbar Punctures/Spinal Taps, gone to clinic and the hospital every ten days for nine months, had ER visits in the middle of the night for fevers, taken oral meds, bone marrow biopsies, bloodwork every ten days for nine months, been referred for Physical Therapy, has weakness in his left leg, had his legs buckle under him more times than I can count, lost his hair in clumps till it was gone, regrown all his hair so he needed a haircut, spent a total of two weeks and four days in the hospital, been hooked up to an IV at the hospital (and rode the pole around like a windsurfer) been so weak (at the beginning) that he had to lay down in a wagon bed because he couldn’t move under his own steam, had a port-a-cath placed in his chest, had a line placed in his arm, and still he smiles, and laughs and is silly and runs and plays and is a normal little boy.
I sit here, two days before his fourth birthday looking at how far we have come, how much he has overcome and through the joy that I feel that he is so well adjusted creeps sorrow (just a little) that he has HAD to adjust and overcome. I know that it could be far, far worse. And I am thankful every day that it is not. I have kept moving forward, he has kept moving forward…we ALL have. The clinic (Maine Children’s Cancer Program) has been tremendous. They have given me step by step instructions. I would have been lost without them. The hospital is amazing. I am thankful that if he had to be hospitalized it was at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital. Our friends and family have been magical. My Mom (Old Granny) has come to every appointment with us except for one. She stayed at the hospital with us the second week we were there. My mother in law came from Georgia to help us at the house with the other boys while we were in the hospital. My Dad has gotten my mom up here from an hour away to get her to us and then turned around, backtracked 40 minutes to go to work and made the reverse trip in the afternoon to pick her up. My sister made him a wormy birthday cake for his third birthday. I can’t recount a full year of good deeds and support that we have been offered, but to EVERYONE that has supported us, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Spencer turns four and ten days later he starts pre-k. For him this will include a medical plan. I am anxious and happy for him. It blows my mind that he is turning four because so much of his third year was medically filled. But he is so excited. And it will be great for him to interact with other children and learn the ropes of school so he can be ready for Kindergarten next year. This has been a year of immense triumph for our family. Eleven months ago, only one short month after he was diagnosed, the cancer was gone. He is in remission. He is miraculous to me. My whole family has been. We are a family of warriors. I am blessed.