Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dalton's story.

Dalton is my one and only son. He would be turning 6 on July 18th, and he would be absolutely thrilled! Here's his story about his 4 month fight for life:

It all started in the beginning of November 2009. He had been sick, not a horrible concerning sick, but he was always saying he didn't feel good and was very tired all the time. That went on for about 3 weeks, and after we learned what was wrong with him I felt horrible for letting him go like this for so long, but I thought he had a virus and it would soon pass. Having a newborn at the time I was busy, tired, and exhausted.
He went in for a regular, yearly check-up. He gets his iron levels checked at his and his iron came back as low, so I was instructed to give him iron-rich foods and watch his diet. The next day I got a call from the dr's office saying they wanted me to take him for some blood tests. We were told his red blood cell count (RBC) was low, which we already knew. Later that day we were told Dalton had mono, but I wasn't convinced. He had none of the symptoms of mono, so I disregarded that and we went about our day.
A couple days later we got a phone call from the dr's office saying they wanted to see Dalton. At this point I am sick of dealing with the dr, I just want to know what is wrong with my son and get him treated. So we take him in and the dr informs me that when we took him in he had some other blood tests done and wanted to share the results in person. He told me that Dalton's platelets were abnormal and his red/white blood cells were way too low. He referred us to an Oncologist. He had x-rays and more blood drawn.
What the Oncologist told me will forever stick with me, I will never forget the exact words he said.
He said that a virus would only cause the blood cells or the platelets to be, as he said, "out of whack." He then continued to say "leukemia causes both to be low."
The next day we made a 45min trip to the nearest hospital that dealt with cancer. We were informed that he would need a blood transfusion, which he recieved within a couple hours after arriving at the hospital.
The day after arriving at the hospital Dalton underwent his first surgery. He recieved a central line (which is where he recieved his chemo treatments), he had a spinal tap to make sure the cancer hadn't spread to his brain, and the final thing was a bone marrow aspirate and biopsy, which told us what kind of leukemia he had (AML or ALL).
We later learned that he had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, ALL. We were told this was the good kind of leukemia. I was surprised to hear that, I thought all cancer was bad, but we were told that ALL is better than AML.
We learned there were 3 phases to his chemo treatment:
induction, consolidation, and maintenance. Induction happens in about a month. Induction is putting the leukemia into remission. I was told that almost all children enter remission after a month of treatment. Consolidation lasts about 4-8 weeks and is the most intensive. This phase reduces the amount of leukemia cells. Maintenance is done if the cancer remains in remission. This is also 4-8 weeks. All these combined, it would have been 2-3 years, since they are spaced out and not one phase right after another.
He started his first chemo treatment on December 10, it was a Thursday, the most painful Thursday ever.
Nurses gowned up, gloves, gown, mask and all, just to come into the room or when he needed medicine. Any of his bodily fluids were considered "hazardous." It broke my heart.
The day after his first chemo treatment he was very weak, but that was, thankfully, the only side affect he had shown from the chemo. He wasn't feeling sick, which would be the last time.
I heard chemo patients craved salty foods, and Dalton was, the morning after chemo he ordered olives for breakfast. That kid never ate olives, he hated them, until then!

Will update later with rest of story.