How do you tell a 5 year old they have cancer?
Jayden is my oldest son he is 6 years old. On August 11, 2017 he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. We went to the doctor’s office on suspicion of him being anemic but our world was quickly turned upside down. We live in Myrtle Beach and travel to Charleston where he gets treatment at MUSC. The induction period was very hard for us since Jayden was neutropenic and not allowed to leave the hospital until his counts rose. We were there for about a month until we were discharged. We were stressing about the health of Jayden along with trying to find someone to watch our one year old and also dealing with a high risk pregnancy. It was a crazy month for us. After induction chemo we were told Jayden showed no more leukemia cells in his bone marrow making us believe he had achieved remission, but a few days later the bone marrow that was sent to John Hopkins came back stating there was still .05% of leukemia cells still in his bone marrow. We were upset but glad that the amount of leukemia cells were under 1%.
Jayden has had one of the toughest times going through chemo. In just a year he has had over 120 days in patient. He has been under precaution not being able to play with other kids for months. He is also fighting a fungal infection for the past 6 months and continuing to do so. He had to have 5 surgeries this past year. Treatment has not been a walk in the park for us. He was not able to start kindergarten and make friends like we planned. Our life is at the hospital and sometimes at home. Jayden does all of this with a smile on his face which surprises me so much, because I want to just hide in a closet and cry. His diagnosis is still a shock to me. He enjoys playing with his cousins and friends when everyone is feeling well. In the hospital he discovered his love for video games. Nurses would come in during their shift and by the end Jayden would ask for a different game because he already beat it. He is incredibly intelligent for just a 5 year old boy. He loves his brother and his sister and helps them everyday with whatever they need.
Eli, our middle child, has had to endure a lot emotionally. He was only a year old when Jayden was diagnosed. I missed a lot of the bonding time when he was a baby and he suffers emotionally now from not getting enough attention, because he is now a big brother. It was very hard for him and continues to be, because a lot of the attention goes to his big brother and baby sister. I try to even my time out with all of them, but with treatment it doesn’t always happen that way. He enjoys being next to his brother at all times and loves to do everything he does. He is constantly learning new things everyday and starting to talk more. He really enjoys playing in his kitchen and making food for all of us.
Our youngest Emilia was born January 9, 2018. Cancer can be so unfair. I had to deliver her by myself at MUSC. My husband had to stay home with the 2 boys. Thankfully the OB was nice enough to let me FaceTime with my husband so he wouldn’t have to fully miss the birth of our daughter. I wished so much that our family could be together. Emilia has been such a blessing for us during such a hard time. We were already 4 months pregnant when Jayden was diagnosed. He was so excited to have a baby sister. She is the sweetest and the easiest baby. She has always slept through the night and is always giggling and having a blast with her big brothers.