Watch TV, play on an iPad, play with my phone, eat anything unhealthy, and God forbid get cancer. Yeah-will most of that didn't work out so well for us. Specifically the last, and I can assure you that I was 100% certain that they WILL NEVER get cancer. And…..I am humbly typing this with tears in my eyes and absolutely zero control over my life.
December 4th, 2013:
We sat there shaking. We couldn’t even hold hands-I felt this total hollowness, like if you were to poke me, I would just deflate. I stared straight at the doctor without taking my eyes off of him. My jaw was clenched super tight to keep the tears back. The two nurse practitioners who were in the empty, cold confernece room with us, for some odd reason, their presence made me feel the slightest bit calm. I could feel there eyes fixed on us, but I knew if I moved my eyes from side to side, tears would spill out and then I would loose complete control.
The doctor stumbled over his words, he stuttered and couldn’t seem to clearly communicate. It was like this was the first time he had to tell parents that there child is one of the 4,000 children diagnosed with leukemia this year. In retrospect, it is comforting that our doctor wasn’t completely jaded and that he too, was uncomfortable giving us the news.
At one point I wanted to reach across the table and shake him, screaming “Just tell us what he has!” Once he finally told us that our son had Type B, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, I no longer heard anything else. I still couldn’t move my eyes from his face. All I saw was his lips moving-but nothing was coming out. Josh had grabbed my hand and was holding it tight….too tight, I don't think he realized how tight he was holding it. Finally I couldn’t hold it in any longer and without warning, tears just started spilling over. It felt like someone had punctured a water balloon with a microscopic hole and there was just this slow and steady drain of water. I could see one of the nurse practitioners out of the corner of my eye begin to tear up. I wanted her to come over and hug me, but then if she did, I thought I may punch her. The amount of emotions were absolutely unpredictable.
When the Dr. finally stopped talking we stood up and in unison said “Thank you.” WHAT!? Where the hell did that come from, THANK YOU? It was the only thing we both could muster up the energy to say.Thank you- for just being the one to tell us that our entire world is upside down. Thank you- for telling us our 2.5 year old baby boy has cancer. Thanks for that.
We walked across the hall of floor 4800 holding onto each other as we literally trembled. We stumbled into Kickers room and I fell into my mother in law. I couldn’t even hold my arms up to hold onto her. She just held me while I ugly cried.
A little history:
A few months back, Kicker had started to complain of leg pain. He would say his legs or his back hurt. It was so inconsistent that we did not take him seriously. One day he would be jumping on the trampoline or jumping off the couch, and the next day, he would limp around and whine. Towards the end of November, I noticed his mood change pretty significantly. He was grumpy and his body was tired. He would complain of tummy aches off and on. He was just not himself. He eventually stopped walking completely the day before Thanksgiving. A few days later, I took him to our chiropractor to see if he could figure out what was going on with his legs. The DC would move his legs every which way-bending them front ways, backwards, sideways and Kicker would just giggle-indicating there was no pain. I left there more concerned. At that point I knew it was something “inside.”
I got on the phone with our family doctor, Dr. Moreno at Optimal Wellness. He is one of the best Osteopathic Physicians in the country. I explained to him what was going on and he immediately got us on his schedule the next Monday and sent us a requisition for lab work. We had only seen Dr. Moreno a few times before-in fact neither of my children had been to any other doctor. With my background in holistic health and understanding of the bodies systems and functions, I have always chosen to see osteopathic physicians vs. traditional allopathic physician's. I was confident, that after seeing Dr. Moreno, he would tell us what was wrong and send us home with a protocol to follow for Kicker's healing. I had assumed correctly on the first part-he did tell us what was wrong, but devastatingly, he couldn’t send us home. Instead he sent us to the Loma Linda Children's Hospital Emergency Room.
It was Monday, December 2nd and my son, who had never been to a doctor, let alone receive any type of shot or poke, had quickly turned into a pin cushion. He was terrified. I had never felt so out of control and helpless in my life. As a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, I had taken great pride in the fact that from birth, both of my children had not only been loved tremedously, but had been well cared for health-wise. They had both eaten a very clean, nutrient dense diet-had only had a “real cookie” or “real ice cream” maybe 3X in their short little lives, had absolutely no idea what McDonald's was, and had never even been into a candy store. For Gods sake they had never even had anything toxic on there skin. They thought sauerkraut and bone broth were a delicious snack and plantain chips and guacamole was their 'chips and dip.' If you were to give them a sandwich on bread, they would take the bread off and eat the insides, proclaiming that “mommy says bread isn’t healthy for us.”
Neither of my kids had ever been on antibiotics, or had any sort of medication, even Tylenol. They thought sushi, seaweed and kombucha were totally normal to eat and their idea of the doctor was DocMcStuffins. In fact, I remember my daughter Selah, running into my room one day in a panic telling me that some of her friends have to “get shots” at the real doctor. I never worried when they would get sick, because I knew how to help them feel better, I could bring their fever down naturally and was confident that they would always recover quickly. I had control. So you see, my kids were healthy, happy and hippie!
How did this happen with my child? I thought I did EVERYTHING right. I had studied nutrition and had a private practice that focused on preventing chronic disease and illness. I educated people on how to prevent cancer…for a living.
I would receive emails and phone calls from clients, emotionally expressing gratitude on how I had changed their life. When my friends or family would get sick, they would call me, begging for me to tell them what to do so they could feel better. I would hold seminars and educate on what you put in your body will either build you up or break you down-educating the public to eat nutrient dense, real foods, similar to what our ancestors ate, avoiding artificial and processed foods, sugars and toxins.
All of the sudden everything I had ever believed in was questioned. God? What God-The God that I had worshiped and prayed too, would NEVER let this happen to my baby. Holistic lifestyle? Yeah-try it and see where it gets you. I have thought that all of my clients would think I was a quack. That everything I had ever educated on, would no longer be taken seriously. That all of the hard work and effort in caring for my family was in the shitter. It felt like a personal attack. Like someone out there had made a deal with the devil so that I would have to go through this. It just doesn't make sense. I have never felt more out of control in my life.
As we walked the hallways 4800 (the pediatric oncology unit), I would just look around and keep angrily thinking “why are we here.” I would see the kids walking with there IV poles in one hand and their "fast food of choice" bag in the other. I would watch the nurses bring our 7-year-old roommate diet sprite and diet coke to take his meds with. I would sit there numbly watching the nurses give my baby his medicine-all of these toxic substances that I would NEVER in a million years imagined would be anywhere near any of my family. In fact, all of the nurses and doctors were amazed at how easily Kicker would take his meds. They kept bringing other people in to watch him down his pills or take the syringe full of flavored medicine. I would weakly and humbly explain to them that he eats unflavored fermented cod liver oil everyday, so of course he is going to willingly take some artificially flavored bubblegum liquid.
About a week into our initial hospital stay, the numbness began to slowly fade away-I first started to feel my hands and feet again, like I could walk with control. Like I could lean on Josh, but he didn't have to hold my body weight up completely. I didn't have the energy to even research what Type B ALL even was. I could care less at that point. All I knew was that my baby had cancer and I had lost control. Amazingly this is where our support stepped in. When we didn't have the energy to even pray, we have a team behind us doing it. When I would wake up and ugly cry all night long, I would receive prayerful messages and pictures reminding me that my God, is still good. A friend recently shared this quote by Joyce Meyer: Instead of saying "Lord, I don't know how I am going to do this" say "Lord I can't wait to see how you do this!" Although I am still not quite there. I am still angry. I still cry myself to sleep almost every night. Each day, I have a little bit more of a glimmer of hope and daily hear God remind me "I've got this Season, let go." And thus begins our journey of letting go and letting God heal our little boy.