Cameron's Journey 🎗️

My son's journey with leukemia

Category: Induction Stage

Day 5: Surgery & Chemo

Today we start treatment. Today we understand more. Today is a big day for the little guy. We knew today he was going to have surgery, we just didn’t know when (this will be a recurring theme with the hospital). It turned out when, was first thing in the morning. They began getting him prepped at 6:30am.

Today Cameron will be getting a few things while in surgery, once again I’m not in the medical field and a good chance I’m not getting the terms exactly right:

Bone Marrow Aspiration – To retrieve the leukemia cells. This will be put in extensive testing to find the exact type he has.

Bone Biopsy – To check his bones. This has something to do with check that the bone struture has not been compromised or put decayed due to the leukemia.

Pick Line – This will be the central line for the IV, medicines, and chemo. This was going to be a port, but over the past few days Cam got a little cough. A chest xray showed he had a little infection. Because of that, the port couldn’t be put in, so they did a pick line instead.

Sinus sample – Not only did he get a little cough, but his eye got puffy. They were concerned that he might has a sinus infection and got a sample in pouch under his eye while he was in surgery to test. Everything came back well.

Cameron was done by 10:30 today and slept off and on for the remainder of the day. Chemo started in the evening. It was performed through if pick line and was completed faster than I though it would. He recieved Vincristine.

After surgery and chemo

Day 4

Day 3

Day 2: Information Overload

Welcome to being admitted to the hospital.

Meet your team:
The nurses
The doctors
Social workers
Physical therapists
Occupational therapists (he doesn’t work?)
Teachers
Physcologists
Dietitians
Child life workers
House keepers
Behavioral therapists
Clergy

In fact… let’s meet them all in one day. And lets go over what our indiviaual plans are. Holy cow.

I knew today was going to be a big day, and I am fortunate I got my 3 hours of sleep from the night before. But today was the beginning. Today was real. I left the hotel at 4am and got on my flight home at 6. I landed in Cincinnati at 8:30 and made my way to my new home for the next 30 days.

I got my 24 hour badge and made my way to the floor, I finally got to see him. Smiling. My boy. It was a great sense of relief. It see him how I remember him. It was just great.

As the day progressed, you get a feeling that this is more than a hunch about leukemia. We met dozens of people telling us things we are not going to remember. They’re set for a biopsy, spinal tap, and chemo on Monday. Sooo…. you’re telling me there’s a chance its not cancer right? No.

My nightmare was confirmed at 4pm on Friday. It is cancer. It is Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. It affects B-cells. We will be living in the hospital for a month. We will begin chemo. We will have a new life going foward. We will get through this. We will be strong. We will take whatever life throws our way! (See, I told you I’m positive)

Strong as I wish, its a lot. I know. I’m really in shock. I mean really. I kinda shutdown my emotions during times like this. I look stonefaced. I go perservere one task at a time in robot mode.

But as much I would like to self pity me, I need to stay strong for both my boys. Both. As of now Carson, his older brother, know somethings up. And he will keep interrogating until he gets an answer. Now that it is confirmed we sit them both down and explain as best we could what cancer is and how we’re going to fix Cameron.

With Cameron’s mom with Cameron tonight and through the weekend, I will shift my focus on Carson. It’s time to make the best of a somber mood and have a good time. Even if I’m faking it, I need to keep these spirits up. My boys deserve it.

Day 1: Getting the News

Maybe I’m too hopeful in life or too positive. When things change rapidly worse in life I tend to think it’s really not that bad, and things can change for the better just as fast. Sometimes I’m right. Hopefully I’m right.

This wasn’t one of those times.

I was working out of town that week. Before I left, Cameron has some issues going on. Nothing too big, but they were odd. Things I havne’t seen in other seven year olds or his older brother. He would sleep a lot. He became disinterested in toys, friends, and foods he used to love. He had nose bleeds. But the strangest was waking up in the middle of the night with pains. At 12:30am it would be his right leg. At 3am it would be if left arm. 6am would be a headache. It wasn’t adding up, and it seemed to be getting worse.

Sunday before I left for my trip I told his mom to keep an eye on him and we should get him checked out when I get back. Not thinking anything more of it I left.

The week started out normal. Cameron was doing fine except in the night. The aches continued. Tiredness occured in the day, but it made sense as he wasn’t sleeping well at night. By Thursday, his mom called the doctors to schedule in appointment for Monday.

They want to see him now.

Ok? Sounds a little alarming but Ok. They want to be proactive. Great. I got the update and continued on my work. By the afternoon, things were getting discouraging. They want to take in to Children’s Downtown to run some tests. Being very proactive? No… somethings up. They’re going to keep him overnight. What? Really? Ok, I’ll make plans to come home early.

I make the hour and half drive that evening to the airport. Staring at my phone and the road equally. Looking for an update… any update. I don’t get that update as I reach the airport. No more flights back home. So I go to hotel near by and wait for my 6am flight.

And wait I do. It seemed like an eternity. 8pm came and went. 9pm came and went 10pm came and I get the call.

I’m on speakerphone with his mother and the oncologist team. The oncologist team. They didn’t have to say anything more. Cancer doctors. Once they started talking, it felt as if they were talking a mile a minute and using terms I know nothing of. I search the room and quickly grabbed a notepad and pen. I wrote so much chicken stratch and abbreviations. Low hemoglobin, low platlettes, low white blood cells, presences of blasts. No idea what any of this means. But at the end of their speil the only words that burned in my head were: “We believe he has Leukemia. We will know more tomorrow after a flow test.”

I cried. I prayed. I remained hopeful. They said we believe. We believe certainly does not mean he definitley does.

And that’s it. Phone call ended. I’m alone. I’m a thousand miles away. Nothing I can do, nothing I can change. I felt so damn useless. So many questions… so many emotions… All I wanted to do was hold him and run my hands through his hair like I always did. I knew that this was going to be a long weekend. I tried to do the impossible and sleep. Day one was over.