So today, 3 years ago, Parker went in for surgery for 3 procedures. First was another biopsy on his scalp, a more invasive biopsy. Second was a bone marrow biopsy, to determine if the leukemia cells presented themselves and third, a spinal lumbar test (spinal tap) to see if the cells were present in his spinal fluid. He was prepped and in good spirits. I was terrified. Pete was terrified. He went in, first was the scalp biopsy with the general surgeon. That took a lot longer than expected. They were having issues closing the area up. Next was the bone marrow biopsy and spinal lumbar, done by the oncologist. I remember waiting forever in that awful waiting room. Waiting to see his name appear as out of surgery. I thing is worse than a waiting room at a children’s hospital. We were called into another room by a specialized nurse. It was a super small room off the waiting room. There we were sat down and explained that they wanted us to give blood and swabs for genetic testing. I should have realized this was not good at that time. It was all so overwhelming. The testing was optional, we did it so they could have some genetic reference for ongoing research.
He was finally out of surgery and we were called in to see him in recovery. He was groggy and agitated. Then we were asked into an empty surgery prep room. It was there the oncologist told us that they didn’t find any cells in his spinal fluid but they had found leukemia cells in his bone marrow. I couldn’t even process what I was hearing. I remember not being able to cry or scream or function. I was in shock, completely frozen with fear. I don’t know how one reacts to news about their 9 year old, very healthy, very active child has cancer. But he did.
Right after that we were rushed to be admitted to the oncology department and would start chemo as early as the next day. Pete had to go home for Payton while I stayed with Parker. I had only the clothes on my back and my phone. I was the one who had to keep it together for him. We had a nurse walk us to his room, the sweetest nurse who told me that she was a childhood cancer survivor. As a child she had non Hodgkin’s lymphoma and now she is a pediatric oncology nurse. She was ok. That meant there was hope.
After Parker was settled and sleeping I remember standing in the hospital room bathroom looking in the mirror thinking how could this be happening. How could this be happening to him, to us, to our family. How do I tell him? How do I tell Payton? It was all too much. I thought this was the worst day of my life. And again, I was so wrong. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of this day.
I love you forever, Bud