Rhabdomyosar… what?

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Nico’s first Christmas 2011.

In 2010, Nick and I made some pretty significant changes in our lives.  Through providence, we learned about health and how our physical health is intricately intertwined with our spiritual and emotional health.  We took in the information and with much prayer we made decided changes that we implemented and continue to practice to this day.  We knew that these changes weren’t a 100% guarantee that we would never experience disease but we believed we were setting our selves up for a higher chance of positive long term health outcomes for ourselves and especially our children.  And we did see many benefits to the changes we implemented!
But childhood cancer is not a lifestyle disease.  It is rare and the causes are still unclear to the medical community.  Genetic?  Environmental?  It is unclear.  Nico is our first born child and after making those lifestyle changes you can be assured that he reaped the benefits.  Organic foods, green smoothies, organic crib mattress, cloth diapers, natural plant based sulfate-free baby wash, and BPA free toys were just a few of the things that we made a priority in our parenting.  Childhood cancer was never in our vocabulary.  Hadn’t we built up layers of protection for our children?  And so the past 6 weeks Nick and I have been given a crash course on the world of childhood cancer.  It’s a completely different world from adult cancer.  We had watched the documentaries and read the articles on the research for adult cancers.  Not so for childhood cancer.  It was a struggle to make the decision for how Nico would need to be treated.  Chemotherapy was a vile word to us because of the nature of how it worked.  It was a poison intended to kill rapidly developing cells such as cancer and along with the cancer, healthy cells would be collateral damage.  We knew time was not on our side.

Nico had the tumor removed on December 21 and by January 13 it had visibly started to grow back.  This cancer was fast and aggressive.  We knew conventional treatment would be necessary.  We decided that we would continue to do all we could naturally at home to support his body and hopefully minimize the negative side effects from the chemo as much as possible.

First Day of chemo!

And so on January 13, our lovely nurse Debbie fully gowned to administer three different chemo drugs to our precious baby boy walked into the hospital room.  I sat on the bed with Nico as she did her job and my heart was broken.  Nico was fine.  He was cooperative and upbeat that day.  The next day was a different story for him.  He didn’t want to eat anything, smells bothered him, he had some leg pain and he only got out of bed to use the bathroom. That was a really hard day for us all.  But hard days don’t last forever and there are always pockets of good within the hard- like friends coming to bring us sushi at the hospital on their way to the airport.  The next day Nico was eating a bit more and had more energy and he was discharged that evening.  Being separated those three nights were the hardest on me and it was a great feeling to all be together again that night.  By Thursday of that week he seemed back to normal with renewed energy and normal appetite levels.  The following two chemo treatments were just one drug (vincristine) and he has handled those very well.  And so now we have completed one cycle of treatment.  This Monday will begin cycle two and he will start a new chemo drug that is administered outpatient everyday for 5 days.  My wonderful mother-in-law, Linda, flies in today to help us for a week.  We are thankful. There have been many emotions that Nick and I have grappled with the past 6 weeks.  The emotion that we through the outpouring of love and support from our friends and family have experienced most often is gratitude.  God is good to us and we are reminded of His care and love for us daily.  Thank you for reading this, for being on this journey with us through your thoughts and prayers.  Our lives will never be the same and there is a blessing in that fact.

 

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