• Kim Nork

The Next Worst Day of My Life


So up until this day one year ago I had thought that I had the worst day of my life. This is the next time I thought the same thing. One year ago we were preparing for Parker to have his first of many surgeries, but this one would change our lives forever. We went into this procedure with high hopes of a positive outcome. He was to have his first Lumbar Puncture and bone marrow biopsy to determine if he in fact had Leukemia. After the scare in the ED the week before I was somehow naive in thinking he was still ok. Not thinking that this procedure was a little extreme and necessary but just as another option to rule it out. So we go to CHOP, consult with multiple doctors, nurses, oncologists, anesthesiologists and surgical staff. It was not a very invasive surgery but would take some time to perform each biopsy. There were different teams to do different biopsies. Parker didn’t seem nervous although we gave him no reason to be.

Pete and I waited in the waiting room with so many different parents, family members and siblings. All of us staring at the screen that listed Parker as a number as his current status of his surgery. It felt like forever. We were constantly looking at the door to see if his doctor would come and give us an update. To come in and tell us he was ok. Countless parents would come and go.

A nurse finally came in and said we could go back. He was coming out of his anesthesia and we could see him. He was ok. We were able to see him and hug him and talk to him for a few minutes before we were asked by his oncologist if we could go talk. I didn’t know what I was feeling at the time, now I know it was sheer panic and anxiety. His oncologists pulled us into an empty prep room and told us that they found cancer cells in his bone marrow and they didn’t find any in his spinal fluid. Is that good? All I heard was cancer and bones and I couldn’t get a grip on reality. I couldn’t breath. I couldn’t cry. I didn’t know how to react. Parker was across the hall with a nurse. How could we possibly tell him that he has cancer? I had a million thoughts swirling in my mind. I couldn’t process this. Not him. Not Parker.

He was such a good boy. He was ready to take on anything. As a 9 year old you do not understand the magnitude of a diagnosis like this. I like to think that he saw it as a cold or something that would just run its course and he’d be ok.

He was immediately admitted to the oncology ward. Please know that nothing on this earth could possibly prepare you for such a thing, an oncology ward at a children’s hospital.

I remember that night. After Pete went home to be with Payton. I was standing in the bathroom of my son’s hospital room looking at myself in the mirror. I could not believe that this was happening. How could this be happening. I would look over at Parker sleeping so peacefully knowing that in less than 24 hours he would have his first chemo treatment. This was one of so many sleepless nights on a hospital room couch.

I love you forever my sweet sweet boy.


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