Update: Kicker completed his treatment in February 2017. He is happy, healthy and thriving! Also, based on my research, my work as a functional nutritional therapist, and our personal experiences during our 3.5 year cancer battle, I created a free online webinar, Five Steps to Thriving Through Cancer. Click here to sign up for a date and time that works for you, and I pray that our hard road will educate and empower you!
My kids will never…watch television, play on an iPad, play with my phone, eat anything unhealthy and heaven forbid, get cancer!
Yea, this is what I used to say. But….most of that hasn’t worked out so well for us. Specifically the last, and I can assure you that I was 100% certain that they would NEVER get cancer. Instead, I am humbly typing this with tears in my eyes, feeling very little control over my life.
December 4th, 2013
We sat there shaking. Josh and I couldn’t even hold hands, and I felt this complete 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. I clinched my jaw trying to hold back the tears. The two nurse practitioners sat with us in the cold empty conference room, and for some odd reason, their presence made me feel the slightest bit calm. Their eyes were fixed on us. However, I knew if I moved my eyes side-to-side, tears would spill out, and I would lose complete control.
The doctor stumbled over his words and struggled to clearly communicate. It was as if this was his first time telling parents that their child was one of the 4,000 children diagnosed with Leukemia this year. In retrospect, it was actually comforting that he wasn’t completely jaded and was uncomfortable giving us the news.
At one point, I wanted to reach across the table, shake him and scream…”Just tell us what he has!!” But once he finally told us the official diagnosis of Type B Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, I no longer heard anything else. I couldn’t move my eyes from his face, and all I saw was moving lips…but nothing was coming out.
Josh grabbed my hand and held it tightly…too tight, but I don’t think he realized it. And without notice, I couldn’t hold it in any longer. Tears just started spilling over, as if someone had punctured a water balloon with a microscopic hole leaving a slow and steady stream of water. The emotions were absolutely unpredictable…wanting to be held, wanting to punch something and everything in between.
So when the Dr. finally stopped talking, we stood and in unison said, “Thank You.”
But, it was the only thing we could both muster up the energy to say…Thank you for just being the one to turn our entire world upside down. Thank you for telling us our 2.5 year old baby boy has cancer.
We walked across the hall of 4800, the pediatric oncology unit, trembling and holding each other the entire way. As we walked into Kicker’s room, I fell into the arms of my mother-in-law. She just held me while I ugly cried.
To give you a little history…
A few months before, Kicker started to complain of leg and back pain. It was so inconsistent that we didn’t take him seriously. One day he was jumping on the trampoline or off of the couch, and the next day he would limp around and whine.
However, towards the end of November 2013, I noticed that his mood changed pretty significantly. He was grumpy, and his body was tired. He complained of tummy aches, and he just wasn’t himself. Then, the day before Thanksgiving, he stopped walking completely.
So, I took him to our chiropractor. And as the doctor would move his legs, bending them forward, backwards, sideways, Kicker would just giggle, indicating that there was no pain. Nonetheless, I left there even more concerned because I knew that the problem was something “inside.”
I quickly placed a call to our family doctor, Dr. Moreno (Optimal Wellness) He is one of the best Osteopathic Physicians in the country, and after explaining to him what was happening, he put us on his schedule the next day.
We had actually 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 my understanding of the bodies’ systems and functions, I had always chosen to see Osteopathic Physicians vs. traditional Allopathic Physicians. So, 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.
Well, I 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 where thankfully, the child-life specialist on duty, who was my college friend, put my breaking heart at ease.
December 2nd, 2013
My son, who had never been to a doctor and had never received any type of shot, quickly became a pin cushion! He was terrified, and I felt so out of control and helpless. In fact, as a Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, I had always taken great pride in the fact that both of my children had not only been loved tremendously, but that they had been well-cared for health-wise since birth!
My kids thought sauerkraut and bone broth were delicious snacks. Plantain chips and guacamole was their “chips and dip.” Sushi, seaweed and kombucha was totally normal for them to eat. And if you ever gave them a sandwich on bread, they would have taken off the bread, and eaten the insides.
My kids also had never been on antibiotics or taken any sort of medication, even Tylenol. Their idea of the doctor was Doc McStuffins. When my kids would get sick, up until the point I had always known how to help them feel better. I could naturally bring down their fever and was quite confident that they would always recover quickly.
So, how did this happen with my child?
I thought I did EVERYTHING right!
Nutrition was my life, and I 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 regulary from clients who would emotionally express their gratitude on how I had changed their life.
My friends or family would call me when they were sick, begging for my help and advice.
I held seminars to educate others on what to put in their body, how to eat a nutrient-dense diet and the importance of avoiding artificial and processed foods, sugars and toxins.
Yet all of the sudden everything I had ever believed in was now questioned.
God? What God? The God that I had worshipped and prayed to would NEVER have let this happen to my baby.
It all felt like a personal attack. It felt like someone out there had made a deal with the devil so that I would have to go through this. None of it made sense, and I had never felt more out of control in my life.
As we walked the hospital hallways…
…I would look around and wonder, “Why are WE here?!” Everywhere I looked, there were kids walking with their IV poles in one hand and their “fast food of choice” bag in the other. And I would watch the nurses bring our 7-year-old roommate diet sprite and diet coke to wash down his medications.
I would sit there numbly watching the nurses give my baby boy his medicine that I would have NEVER imagined in a million years would be anywhere near my family. In fact, the nurses and doctors were so amazed at how easily Kicker would take his meds, they brought others in to watch him down his pills or easily take his syringe full of flavored medicine. I would weakly and humbly explain that he was used to taking unflavored 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. I started to feel my hands and feet again, like I could walk with control or could even lean on Josh and he didn’t have to completely hold up my body weight.
I still didn’t have the energy to research Type B ALL. In fact, at that time I could have cared less. All I knew was that my baby had cancer…and I had lost control! Thankfully though, our support stepped in.
When we didn’t have the energy to pray, our team was behind us doing it. When I would ugly cry all night long, I received prayerful messages and pictures reminding me that my God was still good. I remember a friend sharing this quote from 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!”
It took a while to really get to the place where I could honestly say to God “I can’t wait to see how you do this.” There were so many nights that I would cry myself to sleep. However, everyday I notice a little bit more of a glimmer of hope. And I began to hear God reminding me, “I’ve got this, Season. Let go.”
And thus began our journey of letting go and letting God heal our little boy.