This past weekend has felt like a horrible nightmare. I keep hoping that I will wake up and everything will be normal again. The truth is that this is our reality and we must find a “new” normal.
Three days ago, we heard those words a parent NEVER expects or wants to hear.
“Your son has Leukemia.”
It felt like punch in the gut. We’ve walked round with lumps our throats every since. It just won’t go away. I have to stay strong for our son, but my heart is broken on the inside. I’m scared and hate to see my son uncomfortable. As his momma, I should be able to kiss his ouchies and make everything all better. The harsh truth is that I’m unable to comfort him. My husband, who is a “fixer,” feels helpless as the leader of our family. He sees our son hurting and can’t make his fever or pain go away.
How was Gunner diagnosed with leukemia?
The last week of school my son was running a slight fever. The school nurse called saying my son had vomited before lunch. I picked him up from school and took him to his doctor. Tests for strep throat and mono were negative. With no other symptoms present besides a low-grade fever, his doctor decided to be proactive. He prescribed an antibiotic to combat mono, if by chance that was the cause. If after 7 days, the fever wasn’t gone, I had instructions to bring him back in to be examined again. During the time Gunner was taking the antibiotics, I noticed he seemed pale. Some times he played with his sisters, but other times he didn’t want to get off the couch. I thought these were common symptoms of mono. I pushed fluids, to keep him hydrated and let him rest. This past Thursday, I noticed his fever wasn’t going away and the antibiotic was almost gone. I placed a call to the doctor, giving him a heads up on Gunner’s condition since our office visit. I got a message Thursday evening to call Friday morning and bring him in to the office.
At the office Friday morning, we retested for strep throat and mono. Still negative. Blood was drawn in the office for a lab work up and a urine sample was collected. Gunner’s fever Thursday night had been 102.5. It had been around 99-100. So the spike in fever REALLY concerned me. Something was causing his body to try and fight but what was it? We were sent for a chest x-ray and told the doctor would call us at home when the results were in. On our drive home, we stopped for groceries. Gunner picked out some Powerade to stay hydrated and a few snacks since he didn’t have much of an appetite. We walked in the house, I no more than sat the bags on the counter when his doctor called. He said Gunner’s hemoglobin and platelet counts were very low. His white blood cell count should have been 10 and it was 47,000. He said to go to the ER immediately and we would be admitted to run tests and hopefully pin point what was causing the fever.
We arrived at the ER and were taken back right away. Blood tests were run and the ER doctor came back quickly. I thought we were looking at pneumonia or something similar. He walked into the room and said, “My pathologist looked at the results and your son has leukemia.” I was speechless. I quickly turned to my left to make sure my husband was ok and verify that I wasn’t in the midst of a horrific dream. The look on my husband’s face crushed my soul because he looked as devastated as I felt. My heart literally hurt.
We were asked which hospital we wanted to be transferred to by ambulance. We selected Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin. Within an hour, we were loaded up in the ambulance to go meet with a team of doctors and start treatment.
I will be sharing our journey to conquer this horrible disease on the blog. Gunner has a BIG fight ahead of him. I will also be posting updates on the #TeamGunner Facebook page if you would like to follow our journey there, as well.
If I could ask one thing from you –please say an extra prayer for my son & hug your babies extra tight today. In the blink of an eye, your life can be turned upside-down.
Love Marla and Team Gunner
Read More of Gunner’s Leukemia Battle: