Chased Away Leukemia

 

 

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Janine and Chase at the Ride to be Healed Motorcycle Fundraiser

If ever someone would be called a miracle baby, Chase would be it. Today is Chase’s 6th birthday! Happy Birthday, Chase! But he had been fighting cancer since he was 1. For his whole life, cancer is what Chase has known. He has been on the brink of losing his battle to moments of reprieve, only to be thrown back head first into the foray.

That type of rollercoaster ride would throw any family into overdrive and drop them into exhaustion. It takes a team to make the right decisions on treatment, takes faith to hope you made the right decision, and takes a community to hold you up when those decisions don’t go as planned.

The hardest part of being a parent with a child fighting cancer is the second guessing. Decision-making plays with your mind as does the exhaustion from sleeping in the hospital with your child or having to still work when you are worried out of your mind. It doesn’t matter if it’s the child’s other parent there. As a mom, I needed to be with Nick to make sure that nothing went wrong.

But despite our best efforts, things can go wrong. Chase had so many side effects from his transplant, and chemo. This poor child suffered without really knowing why he was suffering. It was what he thought life was like. That is the horrible part of cancer. These medicines that should help tend to hurt more than the cancer.

Through the power of faith, family, commitment, determination, and community, Chase pulled through. Now he is a little boy who fights with his sister, knows how to smile to get an extra treat, and enjoys running around. So many people and foundations helped his family get through, but his family was the backbone.

Chase, I hope you enjoy your birthday and have an extra piece of cake for me–tell your mom I said so! Love you and your family!

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Peyton, one of Chase’s siblings he gets to harass! I see those bunny ears!

Gotta Have Faith

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Her┬áparents must have known that their daughter would need a strong faith and belief in herself in order to battle cancer twice and thus named her appropriately. In November 2012, Faith was diagnosed and treated for Wilm’s Tumor. On June 15, 2015, Faith was diagnosed with T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, which is said to not be related to her tumor.

This is an interesting thought, and I include this┬ábecause her mom wrote that to me when she was describing Faith. As parents we often wonder how our child got cancer. We did everything right, fed them good food, took them to the doctor, made sure they exercised and rested. How could this happen? When a child is diagnosed with another form of cancer, we can only wonder if the treatments that are meant to save her, may have caused another cancer. It’s a double-edged sword. You have to destroy good cells to get to the bad ones. It’s a chance we take to save our child’s life, and I don’t know a parent who wouldn’t take that chance.

Faith has been tested. She was hospitalized one month after her second diagnosis for pancreatitis. She had to have surgery and was then in the hospital for 10 days with a c-diff infection. During this time, she lost the ability to walk independently and went home with a wheelchair and walker. It took months of physical therapy and sheer will power for her to walk again.

I was very happy to see Faith’s photo in front of her school this year. She wasn’t able to attend last year , so was very excited to be able to go. That connection to school and friends is priceless.

Faith’s mom believes that each and every one of our children fighting cancer is a true warrior. They have to undergo so many treatments and procedures. Their bodies are in warfare. Her mother worries about the side effects, which she has had to directly deal with. Some may be neurological delays, liver and heart disease, and secondary cancers. Yet our kids greet each day looking for new possibilities and adventures. They have to! Children need something to look forward to instead of going to the hospital every day.

Faith and her sister, Noelle, give their family hope. Despite her world being turned upside down and being scared, confused, and sometimes ignored, Noelle is Faith’s biggest, loudest, and most helpful ally. Family and friends, church and school members make such a big difference. We really have quite an amazing community.

Faith’s mom wants to thank everyone who has helped–friends and family, organizations like Nick’s Fight to be Healed, LukeStrong (Faith doesn’t leave the house without her down pillow), Maddie’s Mark, Make-a-Wish, The Bus Stop program, Encourage Kids, and Double H Ranch, as well as the oncologists, nurses and staff at The Melodies Center.

It takes a village, a whole community to heal our children, along with a beautiful Faith.