On July 9, 2012, Keian's journey took on a much different path than we would have expected. The month prior to this, he had multiple infections and frequent bouts of vomiting. We decided enough was enough and took him in to see the Doctor on Saturday July 7th. The Doctor informed us that he had a throat infection and prescribed another round of antibiotics. We also noted that he had numerous bruises on his legs and hips. We left the office that night with a prescription and a requisition to get a blood test. As Keian has never had a blood test before, he was a little scared and wanted both of us to be there with him. Monday night after Ryan came home from work, we headed over to the lab. Keian wasn't happy, but he understood why it was being done. We returned home that night expecting things to continue as they always had. Keian was just being tucked into bed when our phone rang - this phone call changed our life forever. Our family Doctor called to inform us that the results had come in and that there were some abnormalities in his bone marrow. He needed us to go to Children's Hospital, right away. Dare I even try to explain our thoughts when we got that call? Even with all the panic that circled us at that very moment, nothing could prepare us for what was put upon us over the next couple of hours. As Ryan drove, I sat in the back seat, cried and held him while he slept. Despite the numerous other families in the waiting area, we were in an exam room within 30 minutes - Keian's Doctor had called ahead. Though they were unsure, they were speculating. Leukemia... I don't think either of us were ready to accept this until they did know for sure, but it wasn't long after that there was an Oncologist standing before us. An Oncologist?! A Doctor that specializes in Cancer?! Their speculation became our reality.
Keian has T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. T-Cells are the type of lymphocytes that fight viruses. The cells that eventually turn into T-Cells lost the ability to mature properly and caused an uncontrolled replication of immature white blood cells. They did a Lumbar Puncture (LP) and Bone Marrow Biopsy (BMX) to look at the spinal fluid, as Leukemia cells like to hide out and spread. It was also discovered that Keian had a mediastinal mass covering his chest and throat and had enlarged lymph nodes, liver and pancreas. He will need 6-8 months of intensive Chemotherapy, followed by an additional 2.5 years. The first stage of Chemotherapy is called 'Induction'-the aim is to kill all Leukemia cells. During 'Induction', and all proceeding stages, he will be on numerous drugs, all of which can have serious side effects. He will also require Cranial radiation, in order to irradiate the cells from his Central Nervous System (CNS). Because Chemo affects the rapidly dividing cells, it also kills healthy rapid dividing cells such as; hair, cells lining the mouth and stomach. It will affect his white blood cells (that fight infection), platelets (that help clot blood) and his haemoglobin (that carries oxygen throughout his body).
During our hospital stay, we explained to Keian exactly what was happening. We struggled with the decision to tell him for a short while, but then decided that Keian needed to know and understand what would be happening to him. We told him that he had something called Leukemia and that it meant that his blood was sick. All the medicines that the Nurses were bringing for him to take were to help to get rid of the sick blood. Almost immediately, Keian made reference to a superhero living inside his body. This particular superhero has a laser and was flying around his body shooting the sick blood and uses the medicines to gain strength to fight. He has now named his superhero "Kaptain Lasers".
When we find ourselves asking "Why?", we take one look at him, with his shining eyes looking back at us, and we realize that we need to be HIS strength.
A beautiful, loving, energetic boy, was given a lifetime of fight. A fight in which we will be there every step of the way. When he is too tired to fight, we will fight for him. This begins Keian's Journey.
"Don't worry, I got you"