Sometimes life throws you a curve ball you could never prepare for. Less than two weeks ago my Mom pointed out that Landen had a very swollen asymmetrical gland in his neck. Amy had him in the walk in clinic the very next day to rule out strep before his birthday party. The doctor confirmed he was negative for strep, suggested his tonsils need removed and to follow up with new pediatrician on Tuesday. He asked if there was a family history of leukemia and of course there isn't on either side. The pediatrician on Tuesday ordered antibiotics but did not order blood work despite Amy relaying the question about a family history of leukemia. We took the antibiotics for four days without effect.
On Saturday we went to pick out a fish for Corben and our biggest concern for the day was if it would rain for fireworks. Then Landen turned grey and collapsed in the pet store. I scooped him up and we took him directly to St Josephs hospital in Tampa expecting to be told he had low blood sugar or a reaction from the antibiotics. Two hours later we were admitted after being told every parents worst nightmare - Your child has some type of cancer and we don't know what type yet.
Sunday it was confirmed he has A.L.L. Leukemia T-cell type. A.L.L. is the most common type of leukemia but being subset T-cell is more rare, harder to treat, and less favorable survivability than it's B-cell counterpart. We don't know how long he has been sick but he has been more fatigued, moody and just not himself 100% for about six weeks when we compare notes. He also has a mass in his chest and likely cancer in his nose and glands causing a stuffed up nose and for him to be generally miserable.
Yesterday he was cleared for surgery and they placed a chemo port, did a spinal tap to rule out brain/spine cancer, and a bone marrow sample. He got his first dose of chemo yesterday along with antibiotics and big dose of steroids. He'll be at the hospital for at least another week as they are doing chemo every four days to start. He will have chemo every week at first and after nine months hopefully every month for the next three years. He will have times he will have to be planned inpatient. There will be times he will have to be in the hospital because of a fever. He will not attend school this year.
In the past two months, we bought a new house and moved to Tampa. Our beautiful new house has had plumbing issues, internal water damage, foundation issues with water intrusion, roof issues, pool issues. We thought we had critical illness and hospital supplemental insurance (like aflac) only to find out we do not. Amy has almost no paid leave so her time away from her new job will be unpaid.
We waited till he had chemo and did okay before making this announcement. His initial response looks good and we are cautiously hopeful. We've been surrounded by immediate family and friends support. We are so lucky.
Everyone who has met Landen has loved him. He is so smart they had to open next years math program for him so he could work ahead. He is sweet and gentle and sensitive and empathetic. He is an amazing big brother to Corben. He loves animals, and Lightening hockey, and his tarantula, ninja classes and swimming.
We know lots of people who have asked how to help and we will need all the help we can get. Landen's grandma and grandpa have swooped in to help with Corben and remove the load as they have consistently done for the past six years. This is going to be a long road and we need all the help and support we can get. It takes a village and this will be no different. We will be starting a go fund me and will attach it. We don't know how much all this is going to cost above and beyond just missing work.