At the age of 2 ½ Clayton totally embodied the phrase “all boy”. He was rough and tumble and ran head first into everything he did….literally he went head first. By all accounts he was your typical all American little boy.
On June 3rd 2009 all of that quickly changed. Just two days before Clayton woke up crying and we couldn't do anything to get him to stop, so we took him to the doctor to see what might be making him not feel good and causing him to cry. After feeling some sort of lump in his abdomen they sent us to the local hospital for x-rays and from there via ambulance to Helen Devos Children’s hospital, where Clayton had several more tests done.
It was there that we learned Clayton had a softball sized tumor between his kidney and his bladder and that is was growing through the hole in his hip bone and moving towards his spinal column.
One June 3rd the test results from the biopsy came back and it was not the news we had hoped for. The doctors informed us our son had cancer, stage 3, high risk nueroblastoma. Almost immediately they transferred us to the Pediatric – Hematology/ Oncology (cancer floor) where he started chemo therapy right away.
Clayton was given 6 rounds of high does chemo, some of these chemo’s so powerful that we were told, by law he could only receive it once in his life time. At first the tumor was shrinking but eventually the tests and scans showed that it had stopped shrinking.
At this point his team of doctors decided it was best to do surgery and remove the tumor. It would be a risky surgery and it would require three different surgeons. A general pediatric surgeon, a urologist and a neurologist. We were told there was a good chance they would have to remove his kidney and that possibly he might not walk again and if he did, his left leg would weaken from nerve damage and he would have a limp for the rest of his life.
The surgery lasted 11 ½ hours, Clayton was in ICU in a drug induced coma for 5 days and didn't walk for nearly 3 months. Eventually Clayton made a full recovery and was classified as in remission in March of 2010.
During a scheduled check up Clayton’s blood counts began to come back funny and a bone marrow sample was taken.
These samples revealed that Clayton had contracted a secondary cancer…..AML leukemia. We were told there was a 2% chance of this happening and that it was a direct result of the treatment he had received for the nueroblastoma.
Once again our world was shaken to its core and we were propelled back into a world we thought we would never see again.
Clayton was admitted the next day to start his treatment for the leukemia. The plan was to have about 4 to 6 rounds of chemo and then a bone marrow transplant. Each round of chemo was going to put Clayton in the hospital for up to 30 days at a time.
After his first round of chemo they took another sample of his bone marrow and his marrow was CLEAN!!! He was in the 2 % again…but this time on the good side of that number.
Clayton had beaten the odds and would only have to have one more round of chemo and then is bone marrow transplant.
The bone marrow transplant was by far the hardest of any of the treatments he received. He was in the hospital for nearly 4 months.
Just last month after many years of battling cancer the doctors officially consider Clayton CURED!!