Hudson was diagnosed with B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in March of 2019, just before his second birthday. Our daughter Violet was just 10 weeks old at the time. The warning signs were there, but subtle. He was 23 months old when I noticed some paleness, darkening under his eyes and petechiae bruising on his forearm. Working in healthcare, I am fortunate to know that these are all warning signs for childhood cancer. I monitored his temperatures for the next few nights and Hudson was running low grade fevers. His pediatrician drew labs per my request to rule out leukemia. I knew in my core that Hudson had leukemia. It was a motherly instinct that I couldn't shake. An hour later we received the call that rocked our world. Hudson's labs were abnormal. We were to go to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital and go to Floor 11, the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Unit. Labs were obtained, IV's were started and blood transfusions began. Hudson received three blood transfusions and two platelet transfusions that night to stabilize him. He has had numerous since then. His bone marrow biopsy confirmed our worst nightmare, leukemia. A leukemia cell was also found in his cerebral spinal fluid, making him slightly higher risk. Treatment started immediately. His type of cancer follows a three year treatment protocol. He is scheduled to finish in May of 2022. Throughout his treatment he has had more pokes, port access and deaccess, IV's, blood draws, NG tubes, tube feeds, procedures, surgeries, tests and chemotherapy medications than most will in a lifetime. He has dealt with anxiety, PTSD and physical pain from treatment. At the beginning of treatment he lost the ability to walk due to pain and weakness and even stopped talking. Physical therapy and speech therapy were both necessary. Most of his chemotherapy medications are decades old because of the lack of pediatric cancer research and funding. Despite all of the terrifying, painful and unfair experiences Hudson has had to go through, he continues to be full of life. His strong-willed, empathetic and silly personality continues to shine through all the darkness. The bond he shares with his little sister Violet has proved to be unbreakable. She is there when he needs her most and he takes comfort in her love. I hope that by sharing Hudson's story, our family can raise more awareness and support for pediatric cancer research. The children deserve more than 4% of funding, they deserve a chance at life and a cure.
The Childhood Cancer Ripple Effect
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