The next few days of rounds with doctors, fellows, residents, nurses, a social worker and childcare were a blur. I barely slept or ate. I sat on the floor of the hallways at 2am and wept. I called close friends and family and started to fill them in on what little we knew.
We were finally able to go home for a couple of days only to turn back around when we found out that it was in fact Leukemia, officially called T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, which was in 37% of Eli’s bone marrow.
As a parent, I have always felt that it was my job to protect my children, and that if we watch out for them, take care of them, teach them to be good people, it would just all work out. Cancer wasn’t in the plan (not that it ever is), I just wasn’t prepared, and was unsure I was strong enough to handle it not just for myself, but also for Eli and my family. Being the parent of a sick child brought on new emotions I was unfamiliar with… it shook my world.
We took our place at the starting line of treatment, which included chemotherapy, 6-8 months of active treatment with bi-weekly visits, followed by 2-3 years of maintenance and twice monthly treatments and check ups.
Anyone who has a loved one that has gone through chemo knows that it is just horrible. Eli went through numerous additional procedures, which included him getting a port, or “button”, that will remain in his body for the next few years. The doctors went through the list of side affects, and for the most part, the experience turned out to be as awful as they warned.
We stayed in the hospital for 10 days to get everything started. I wanted to spare him the pain, but also wished for it to all move faster, to know he was further away from the disease and closer to having a normal life again, whatever that means.
I would not leave his side for as much as people tried to get me to. I walked the halls in the late hours of the night worrying about what this all meant to him and to all of us.