This November, the day after Dakota turned 16 months old, we headed to our Pediatrician for the third time in three weeks because he began to rapidly look and feel very unwell. In just a matter of weeks our sweet, energetic, smiley young baby boy could barely walk or sit up for very long and had begun to look very sick and very sad. Our daughter Zoe, age 3, didn’t understand why her brother wouldn’t play anymore.
We were immediately being sent to the local ER for testing. They said something was very wrong with his blood, his hemoglobin was 2.5, the doctor said he had never seen any person that low, he was barely alive. He began transfusions immediately while waiting for transport to the nearest children’s hospital and a hematologist/oncologist who would meet us in the Pediatric ICU where Dakota would have to remain until stable.
We were transferred to the PICU at Palm Beach Children’s Hospital where we remained for 4 days. By the end of our stay in PICU, he had received 6 blood transfusions, 2 platelet transfusions, had a bone marrow biopsy, 2 lumbar punctures and a port had to be surgically implanted in chest wall. Dakota was diagnosed that Thursday with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).
They said his bone marrow was 75% leukemia cells and that the pressure they cause on his bones from the inside out meant our little boy had been in unbearable pain. He began receiving chemo and we remained in the hospital for the next two weeks.
Our Doctors have told us that his treatment will be at least a three year full time treatment plan that will include chemotherapy at home and in clinic, inpatient hospital stays and a lot of changes to our home and to Dakota and our family’s every day lives.
While we are hoping that our insurance will cover a good portion of Dakota’s medical expenses, the reality is we aren't sure how much will be covered and the bills are already starting to pile up less than a month into his treatment. There are other uncovered costs like his daily medications, special dietary changes, and changes we have to make in our home during his three year long treatment. As his main care provider I will also not be able to return to work. We love our son very much and just want him to get better and will do whatever it takes to make that happen. Please know that any amount given to help us with Dakota’s battle with Leukemia will be greatly appreciated.
We will try to update you guys throughout his journey, please keep Dakota, his sister Zoe and our family in your thoughts and prayers.
The Cappel Family
(Jennifer, Kyle, Zoe & Dakota)
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