Why This is Important to Me
Why This is Important to Me
We took our one year-old son Brock on vacation to Australia for Christmas 2013/New Year’s 2014 to visit my husband’s brother and his family. A few days into our trip, a small bump appeared just under Brock’s right eyebrow. We assumed he must have had an allergic reaction to the new environment, so we bought some Claritin to clear it up. After a few days of unsuccessful treatment, we switched his milk, desperately seeking relief for the growing lump above his eye. Being far away from home, we didn’t feel it necessary to panic and run him to a foreign hospital for something we thought was an allergic reaction, as we’d be back in the States soon enough.
As the trip was coming to a close, again we noticed swelling, but this time is his right upper arm near his elbow and on his right jaw. Looking back the symptoms seem obvious, but until you go through the horrifying diagnosis process, no parent would assume a connection between the three ailments. Brock didn’t seem in emotional or physical pain, but on the flight home he sweated profusely. Our fear grew and we were still hours from home.
Finally in the States, we took him to our pediatrician, relaying our concerns that he had a terrible allergic reaction and was swelling up in multiple places. Our pediatrician recommended we take him to the emergency room immediately, citing a possible broken arm. After rushing Brock to Georgetown University Hospital and receiving an x-ray of his arm, the doctor walked into the waiting room with the news that sent the first shockwave through us. It wasn’t a broken arm, it was a tumor. We had no idea what to make of it. It couldn’t be right; we came in for a broken arm(the tumor was so big it broke his arm)
The doctors then proceeded to x-ray Brock’s entire body – the bone tumors were everywhere. Seventeen in total in his brow, jaw, arms, ribs, pelvis, and legs. Then the second and most devastating shockwave came when a doctor informed us that we may need to prepare for a cancer diagnosis. No parent can imagine hearing these words about their baby. Your mind fights to comprehend a statement like that, as if you’ll open your eyes and realize it was all a nightmare. Uncontrollable tears and pain set in as we couldn’t believe that we could lose our sweet and innocent little boy.
The doctors did their best to temper our greatest fears and insisted on a thorough set of diagnostic tests. It is excruciating to see your child scream and cry as he get countlessly poked, prodded and restrained for anesthetics, IVs, blood samples, and cat-scans. For five restless days and sleepless nights, we desperately waited for answers. The only thing that kept us positive was our son Brock. Despite everything, he still stood up in his hospital crib laughing and playing. He was and still is our inspiration; our hero.
Although we left the hospital without an official diagnosis, the doctor’s initial impressions were confirmed a few days later. Brock had a rare blood disease called Langerhans' cell histiocytosis (LCH). He began chemotherapy treatment immediately and responded wonderfully. He actually took his first steps days after his first round, which lifted our spirits tremendously. After countless doctor visits and chemotherapy sessions he lives five years later with 'no active disease'. He now enjoys being a 'normal' kid - no doctor visits, no medicine, and no concerns.
We can see the lasting effects of his battle with LCH. He always remains positive in the face of adversity and continues to be a beacon of hope and a constant memory that there are more important things in life. We are forever grateful to Make A Wish for helping our family through this difficult experience.
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