Some days are indelibly etched in my mind. I vividly recall all sorts of details about those days. September seems to have more than its share of them:
- Saturday, September 13, 1986—our wedding.
- Friday, September 16, 1994—Victoria is born.
- Tuesday, September 11, 2001—the attack on the US.
- Thursday, September 1, 2005—our referral for Ryan arrives in Seattle and we see his picture for the first time.
And Wednesday September 20, 2006. 8:15AM. I was sitting in the family room on the floor playing with 20 month old Ryan. The big guys were all 4 at school for the first time in several years since Tori was in the 7th grade at Seattle Christian. Emily, 9th grade, Hailey, 10th grade, and Brent, 12th grade, had already been at SCS for a year or two. The house was mostly quiet when the phone rang. It was my sister on the other end. And she was crying.
Her 4 year old had been sick, and they’d been to the pediatrician for a blood draw to see if his diagnosis of strep was a systemic infection. Through her tears, she told me that the dr. had called and asked her to get her husband and her son and meet at the oncologist’s office. She was, understandably, terrified.
After a long day of waiting (for us) and an interminable day of medical terms and plans of action (for them) we learned that Nicholas had Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia, or ALL. He was admitted to the hospital at that point to begin treatment. Ted, their older son, had just started 1st grade. Trying to manage a 4 year old in the hospital and an almost 7 year old in school all day was overwhelming. I got on a plane Thursday to go help out. It was far easier for us to adjust and make arrangements for Ryan than it was to expect Pam to be able to do it all alone. I spent 4 days in Boise, then flew home for Ryan’s readoption hearing. When it was done, he and I flew back to continue to help out.
It’s been a rough road. Nick’s treatment was initially successful, but over the years he’s relapsed several times. Treatment was hard, and Nick lost his hair. Many times. He’s been on steroids, and we’ve seen the bald, moon faced Nick more than once.
The first bone marrow transplant was in March 2009. At this point Nick was being treated in Seattle, so he was closer to (our) home. Pam and the boys were living at the Ronald McDonald house, and Tony was in school full time in Boise. It was not fun. Not for anyone. But God is faithful, and some things changed. Tony was able to join them here. Didn’t make the circumstances any less ugly, but it helped to have him here.
Nick’s first transplant was a success, and his recovery was (relatively) quick. (I know…it depends on who you ask!) Sadly, when he had his 1 year post transplant workup, the doctors discovered that Nick had again relapsed. The odds were definitely stacked against them. But there were no other options. Late September 2010, Nick had a second bone marrow transplant. This was much rougher, and included a stay in ICU. There were some scary moments. But you know what? God is SO faithful! Look at Nick today:
He’s healthy. He looks incredible! He’s attending the neighborhood school and playing football. In late October he has his 1 year post transplant appointments and follow up. It’s tense for sure, and I would bet that at some level Pam and Tony are holding their breath. But they also know that for the first time in a very long time, Nick feels GOOD. He feels HEALTHY. And he’s not afraid to tell you that. If you asked him, he’d say he’s got this thing beat.
5 years later, we are rejoicing. The miracle is Nick, the praise is God’s. And it doesn’t get much better than this.