Once upon a time, there was this guy and this girl who fell in love. As most happy endings go they were married and both were starting new careers. They soon found out that they were expecting their first baby. The big day came and it was a boy! Happy Birthday little man! This baby boy was perfect! He was handsome, smart, active, and a quick learner. His parents could only dream of how far he could go in life!
Then one day, before he turned 2, he came down with the flu for the first time. After about a week, he was still sick so his mom took him to the doctor like all new moms would. The doctor assured her it was just a bad virus going around and it could take as little as another day, or as long as 6-8 weeks to run its course but to keep in touch to make sure he gets better.
8 weeks have come and gone, along with multiple doctors visits, and their perfect little boy was still sick. They took him back to the doctor who insisted it was another virus and wouldn’t even poke his finger to check his blood, even though their son no longer had the energy to play, sit up or even eat. The next morning, when his mom woke him up, his tummy was so large that he looked like a 2 year old who was 9 months pregnant. So his mom took him to another doctor, who sent them straight to a hospital to meet a pediatric surgeon for a CT Scan.
In less than an hour their world came crashing down. During the test, the surgeon pulled them in to watch the scan and told them, your son has cancer. To him it looked like a very common cancer but worse case, this cancer does have a n “evil twin.” He was scheduled for immediate surgery where chemo would start while still in the O.R. The tumor had grown so much in the last 72 hours that all of their sons organs were crammed on the right side of his body. The tumor had taken over the left.
The massive tumor was removed and sections were overnighted to multiple labs, including the American Cancer Society and a renowned doctor in England. Within 2 days, they had all come to the same conclusion. It was the “evil twin.” Not only did their son have cancer, but there are no known survivors of his cancer. That’s when the doctors told the little boys parents that the American cancer society had just come out with a new protocol of chemo treatments to try for his cancer type and asked if they would be willing to let them try it on their son, in hopes of saving him. From everything they could find, this protocol was the only hope that their son would live.
There were a couple of nights they were told their son might not wake up or be with them in the morning. But he fought. They fought. Today, their perfect little boy is 23 years old and is going to school to be a radiologist. Because of the advancements in research through the American Cancer Society, their son lived. How do I know? Because this is my story. The little boy is my son.
While most of the details have been left out of this version of the story, the most important question I could ask myself is this, “What have I learned?” I learned what really matters. I learned that life is too precious to waste on things that don’t matter. I learned what faith, hope and love really means, I learned who my friends really are. And I learned that family really is everything.
To quote Stuart Scott – A world renown sportscaster and ESPN SportsCenter Anchor…
“You beat cancer by how you lived, why you lived and in the manner in which you lived.
So Live. Fight like hell.
And when you get too tired to fight, then lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you.”