Tuesday, May 04, 2010

A Day to Celebrate

Today is my baby's birthday. Yes my baby boy that was born thirty years ago. In my deffense, I was still a teen when he was born. ( I turned twenty three months later but hey technically I was a teenage Mom!) At the time he was born I had a strange feeling that he would be my only child. When I told his father that as I held him for the first time he looked at me like I had lost my marbles. In hindsight, I believe it was a premonition of sorts. Three short years later I was diagnosed with Hodkgins Disease. At that time the treatment was massive radiation. Chemo was still very new and unproven. I had the maximum radiation I could have from my ears down to my navel. I never could get pregnant again. I always comforted myself with the knowledge that at least I had one child...and he was the picture of health.

On my son's sixteenth birthday he began to lose weight. During the following month he got chicken pox and was very ill. He was having all kinds of bizarre symptoms and I knew that drenching night sweats were a bad sign. I took him to the doctor (a pediatric hemotologist) late June and she said that he had experienced "bone marrow blowout" but his counts were coming back. She wanted him to see another hemotologist/oncologist. That doctor agreed with her but warned us that this was something often seen in children before they developed leukemia. They told us to wait a month or so and see how he was doing. He had continuous blood tests during that time and the doctor said he needed to have a bone marrow aspiration on September 4th. I was a wreck having had one myself, I was so reluctant to have him experience it.
The doctor finally agreed to give him some mild sedation in order to do it. They would also hospitalize him for the day.
Shortly after the procedure the doctors came in and told us, there was no doubt he had leukemia. It would be about a week before we would know what kind. They told us ALL or "childhood' was easier to treat.
Thus began our three and a half year ordeal with that long chapter of our lives. There is a happy ending to the story. :)
Tom is alright now. Yes, he does have some difficulties which we believe were caused by the agressive protocol he had. I consented to let him be in a trial program with NIH. It was his ONLY hope of a cure. Without a sibling, a bone marrow transplant was unlikely. He had been registered and there was noone that was a possible match. So today while I celebrate the birth of my only child, I also celebrate his second chance at life. I don't know why some children lived and other's didn't. It's something I will probably never understand. I just know that things were so scary at that time. My ex couldn't handle it and I was like a single mother making all those decisions and hearing all the bad news. He didn't go into remission by the time they wanted him to. That was a bad sign. I learned that EACH patient is a unique individual and we don't work on time charts. There is ALWAYS hope.
So today my baby boy, who is now a man, I thank God each day that you are still here with us. You have taught me so much about life. Many times you are the teacher and I am the student. I am so proud of the kind and caring person that you have become. Of all the things in my life I feel the proudest of you. I hope that all the days of your life will be filled with love and kindness and a sense of well being. I am also so grateful that I lived long enough to see you grow into the man you have.


Susan C said...

Lovely post, Nelle.

Missie said...

Now you did it. I had to go get a kleenix! What a beautiful story to share with us. May your son have many, many more birthdays to come.

Virginia said...



Aine Butler-Smith said...

Happy day!

Cynthia said...

Big hugs to you both. Your love and strength are an inspiration.