Honored Kid

Tomas Nichols

Age 19
Tomas Nichols Kid Photo

Location

Stafford, VA, US

Diagnosis

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)

Date of Diagnosis

September 2007

Status

No evidence of disease

Treated At

Walter Reed Army Medical Center

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My Story

This journey is like a long cold winter evening with fresh snow on the ground. You and your family have to walk from your current home to a new one that you were told was constructed for you many miles away. Portions of the route you or other members of the family are familiar with, others portions, the family is not. The fresh blanket of snow covers the route so you are not completely comfortable with what you thought you knew at the beginning. As the family begins the journey, the blasts of cold arctic air forces everyone into buckling and zipping up, a numbing sensation begins as you attempt to adjust to the environment. The darkness of the night forces everyone to rely on other senses that they normally don't. We can't see very far so now we have to rely on hearing, touch, smell, and taste. We need to expose ears, hands, nose, and mouth, to the cold to help find the way. At the same time to much exposure could result in frostbite, gangrene, and eventually death. Not enough exposure and you will never reach the destination and eventually lead to exposure. After the individuals in the family have adjusted to make this journey into a family endeavor great progress is made towards reaching the new house. At the same time complacency will lead to failure, a delicate balance of adjusting to each leg of the journey and the needs of the individuals without causing harm to the family takes on greater importance then you every imagined, problems with one member could easily have a domino effect. As the journey progresses there will be times when whiteout conditions occur and the only option will be to make a snowcave and wait for the storm to pass. Other times the air will feel so crisp and clean that you just want to stop and go no further because you will try to convince yourself that this is good enough, no need to continue the journey someone will find us and give us a ride. Knowing when to dig the snowcave or forcing ourselves to go on when we think we've traveled far enough is a delicate balance that needs to be assessed on a daily basis. There are no guarantees that the family will reach the house. Families that have traveled the route before illuminate a light at the end of the journey but you can not follow completely in their footsteps because the fresh snow has covered the tracks. We are blessed that Tomas has proven to be such an unexpected resilient navigator for our journey. Our immediate family is adjusting to this new life with only minor bumps in the road. Our extended family has provided the love and understanding that is needed now more then ever before, and finally for the doctors, patients, and other cancer families that are illuminating guidance beacons as we navigate through this 3 year extended winter night http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/tomasnichols

The Childhood Cancer Ripple Effect

Who's Honoring Me

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