And here it is, photo 3:
It was on Everett’s 28th birthday that we met with Jackson’s oncologist, nurse and social worker, along with both of our parents, to discuss Jackson’s treatment plan. It was then that we discovered the full details of Jackson’s diagnosis: he had Stage 3, n-myc amplified, high risk Neuroblastoma.
What did that mean back in 2009? Our one-year-old had 30-40% of overall survival.
We were told if we wanted the best odds, he needed to complete treatment lasting around a year in length. And do it all: chemo, surgery, stem cell transplant, radiation and Accutane. (A couple months in, they also tacked on another 5 months with a new treatment called Immunotherapy).
In that meeting, I just felt myself getting madder and madder at what the doctor had to say. MY CHILD was not a statistic…they could take those numbers and shove them.
The first thing up: six rounds of chemotherapy. We were admitted immediately following that meeting to hydrate and begin the next day.
This picture was taken that next day during Jackson’s first round of chemo; we were sitting on the floor with my mom and a couple other people, playing with stuffed animals as the chemo went through Jackson’s CVL. We didn’t know what to expect.
I’ve always looked at his face in this picture…having a blast eating goldfish and playing. Now, years later, I look and see my own face. I’m trying very hard not to cry. You can see the quiet turmoil, the immense heaviness, of supporting your child as they go through the toughest thing of their life, while simultaneously going through the toughest thing of your life. I truly believe that’s why after treatment, parents go through such a hard time with PTSD. There’s no time to deal with your own emotions while being everything for your sick child.
But…just look at my brave boy. Jackson proved he could power through anything. It’s truly from his strength that I discovered mine.