This week, six years ago, Jackson was still young enough that we counted his age in months: 13.
At his one year checkup, he was 25 lbs. and 6 oz; 32.25 inches long.
He was finally growing in the softest blonde baby hair.
He’d just finished breastfeeding at the same time he began walking.
He had bright white Chicklets for teeth and they made his momma giggle.
He wore size 4 black Converse high tops.
He loved swinging at the park until he got sleepy and almost nodded off.
He’d just celebrated his first “real” Valentine’s Day by putting a whole chocolate in his mouth so he drooled like an ooey, gooey Chipmunk.
And it was this week, six years ago, that Jackson was diagnosed with cancer.
You may think it happens to other people. You’d be right, it does. Until it happens to you.
Because this is what cancer looks like. It can be existing and you don’t know it. It can be growing and multiplying faster than you ever could have imagined. It could be happening inside the body toddling around in black Chuck Ts. While nodding off in the swing at the playground. While being pushed around in a Step 2 Pushcar. While reading Sandra Boynton at bedtime.
It could be happening at a one-year well checkup when you’re given a clean bill of health.
Childhood cancer exists, just underneath the surface, while you think everything is perfect. It is often there, giving no warning signs or symptoms, until it’s too late.
I am eternally grateful that it wasn’t for Jack.
Jackson: Diagnosed February 15, 2009/ 13 months old / Stage III, n-myc amplified, high-risk Neuroblastoma / Completed treatment March 29, 2010 (Chemotherapy, Surgery, Stem cell transplant, Radiation, Immunotherapy and Accutane) / Remission (almost five years to date)