A few weeks ago, Sam started to have what we thought were "growing pains." He had pain in his arms first, and then later his legs. It was a lot of pain. He was up all night, and he cried a lot.
took Sam to see Dr. T, and she was all over it. She sent us for an
x-ray and told us that if he spiked a fever, he should have some lab
Guess what? He spiked a very low fever the next
day but it was enough for his very tired parents to take him into the
lab. The results were relatively inconclusive.
Sam started to feel better, so we were happy.
after a nice quiet week of sleeping through the night and no pain, he
started hurting again. This time, it was the other leg. Oy vey! We went
back to our doctor's office and saw Dr. P, our regular doctor. He wanted
another lab but not more x-rays. He thought it was probably a
rheumatology problem and the labs, in some way, confirmed this. He wrote
us a prescription for prednisone and referred us to a rheumatologist at
Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
We made the
appointment with the rheumatologist, and had all our paperwork sent over
there. This was on Friday, June 8th. The rheumatologist then called our
family practitioner, Dr. P, and had him relay the following: "Stop the
prednisone, and if the pain gets worse, bring him into the ER at
Children's and we will see him." Sam had been doing quite well on Friday
Friday night, Sam "got worse" and in the
morning we decided that a trip to the ER was our next step. Fortunately
for us, Children's Memorial Hospital was at that very moment beginning
their move over to the new Lurie Children's Hospital building. That was
not the place for us, so we went to our local ER, and they gave us a
choice for referral. With no hesitation, we chose Children's Hospital of
Wisconsin. They made the transfer papers and we drove Sam up to
When we arrived, they were fabulous at
getting us settled and arranging an MRI right away, even though it was
Saturday. Poor Sam was in a lot of pain, but he was great for the whole
MRI, which actually ended up being 2 - one for his knees and another for
his femurs when they spotted something unusual in the bone just above
After the MRI, they sent us home. His
bloodwork and x-rays were relatively clear, it was only his MRI that was
worrisome. The ER staff had talked to the oncologist on call, and he
wanted to see us on Monday for a bone marrow biopsy.
The word: oncologist. It made my heart fall through my knees.
Bone Marrow Biopsy - even worse.
was a "normal" day for us but Sam was still in a lot of pain. Luckily,
the ER had given us some much stronger painkillers.
morning we called and Dr. J wanted to see us as soon as we could get up
there. We landed at CHW at 11am, and they told us that we couldn't do
the bone biopsy on Monday, but that they wanted to admit us for
We got a room in the "HOT" unit -
Hematology-Oncology-Transplant. They gave me a lovely tour. I pretty
much ignored them. "We won't be here long," I said.
But I didn't really believe that.
Sam's bone marrow biopsy was on Tuesday. It was quick. It went "well."
A few hours went by.
The team came back at about 4:30pm.
My whole universe collapsed in on me at 4:30pm on a Tuesday.
My sweet little Sammy.
asked questions. They made plans. A port to be inserted. A spinal tap
to be taken. Chemotherapy to be arranged. We sent texts. We made calls.
We wrote emails.
And we cried.
Sam was in a lot of pain. He complained. He begged to go home.
Now it is almost Thursday.
Less than 48 hours later, chemo has begun.
Less than 48 hours later, everything has changed.
Less than 48 hours later, "we won't be here long" has become "a month."
Sam has cancer.
Acute myeloid leukemia.
And our lives will never be the same.