We met eight-year old Paxton at the 2016 Speak Now for kids Family Advocacy Day. Just three years ago, he was diagnosed with stage 4 Burkitt’s lymphoma leukemia at the age of 5. Now cancer-free, Paxton has continued to thrive in all things basketball (he’s a fan of Ohio’s own LeBron James). As we come to the end of Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month, Paxton’s mother, Jamie, shares the journey her family has taken to make sure Paxton received the all-around health care – both physical and mental, needed to successfully fight this diagnosis.
Today, Jamie shares how important it is to be an advocate for your child’s health care on both the local and national level.
September 9, 2014, Paxton finished treatment and the waiting game began. Now we wait to see if he is one of the 70% of survivors that get a secondary cancer or life-threatening side effect. In his case, he will most likely get Acute Myeloid Leukemia from toxicity from the etoposide and cyclophosphamide. Or heart failure. Or other major organ failure….maybe his kidneys from being overworked processing the toxic chemicals.
I wonder if I will live long enough to see if he will be able to have children of his own. I wonder if he will ever get to experience the joy of being a father and see his children’s eyes sparkle on Christmas morning. I wonder if I will have to tell him he can’t have children because of the cancer he had at the age of 5.
Three years ago, Paxton was diagnosed with a form of stage 4 pediatric cancer. At age 8, he is now cancer-free. Paxton’s mother, Jamie, shares the journey her family has taken to make sure he received the all-around health care – both physical and mental, needed to successfully fight this diagnosis.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month, and I am thankful for it and hate it all at the same time. This month, our social media is flooded with pictures of bald children with no eyebrows, startling and horrible (and true) statistics, and images of empty porches where little girls should have stood on their first day of school.
I love the awareness that this month brings, but all the images and info. bring the possibility of losing Paxton too close to home. Seeing the images throw me into a panic attack – a very real PTSD. But something draws me in to the stories. Because once you are a cancer mom, once you’ve seen your child fight the most awful type of evil in this world, once you’ve heard the screams of dying children being held down by mothers lying to their children that things are gonna be all right….you can’t “un-know” that.