One year since we went to our pediatrician’s office for the red spots on his neck.
One year since we were sent to get blood work done.
One year since we were rushed off to Lutheran General to get more extensive testing done.
One year since we first heard the words “there is something wrong with his blood work.”
One year since we met an Oncologist.
One year since we heard “CANCER”.
One year since “acute lymphoblastic leukemia” became a common household phrase.
One year ago, today our seemingly perfectly healthy 20-month-old Lukas was diagnosed with cancer.
It’s been one year since our entire world fell apart.
March 19th – Our official “cancerversary”
Dr. Agrawal, placing her hand on my knee, said, “I am so sorry, it looks like Lukas has leukemia, its cancer.” Words that I will NEVER forget. The moment our life changed forever. That one sentence changed the trajectory of our whole life.
Throughout the last 365 days, Lukas has endured:
− 59 IV chemo doses
− 191 oral chemo doses
− 52 steroid doses
− 42 doctor visits
− 36 needle pokes
− 14 procedures under sedation
− 3 hospital stays
− 5 ER visits
− 5 blood transfusions
− 3 platelet transfusions
− 4 X-rays
− 1 surgery for port placement
- 1 broken foot
− Countless antibiotic doses
This was the start of Lukas’ story!
There are really no words to describe the feeling of those first few days, weeks and months. Anger, sadness, shock, disbelief, grief, fear, and denial are among many of the feelings that consumed me, and I still feel them today at different points of time. I don’t think those feelings will truly every leave me, but they do subside after time. We were overwhelmed by the news and all the information we received. Overwhelmed at the thoughts of our new normal. Overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from our family, friends, and community.
One year ago today was absolutely soul-crushing, but I want to reflect on this year the way Lukas has faced it — with bravery, courage, and strength! He has smiled and laughed each and every day! That smile has never left his face, even on the rough days. That smile of his, lights up his whole face and fills your heart with love, hope, and joy. We are strong and brave for him because he has been strong and brave for us. He has truthfully shown us what it takes to be a fighter! In honor of his amazing, fighting, happy essence, I would like to focus on the blessings this diagnosis has brought us.
• God gave us such a strong, resilient warrior to fight this cancer with such strength and grace to beat it.
• Jeff and I are stronger than we ever thought we were or would have to be. We never in a million years thought this was the path we were going to take for our children, but together we had made it, and continue to do so! We are in this together, as a team! Forever!
• Jakob is one of my most important pieces to Lukas’ thriving and fighting. The bond of brothers is amazing, but the bond that Jake and Luke share is unmatched!
• We have been blessed with the best family on both sides who have our backs through everything. They have spent countless hours sitting with us and praying for us and keeping Lukas entertained so we can rest on the tough days. They have shown up when they knew we needed them, even before we realized we needed them.
• We have been blessed with friends who are more like family and love and pray for Lukas as if he’s their own. Friends – new, old, far, and near who have gone the extra mile to make us feel better and help to make our life a bit easier! Cancer has brought us into a world we didn’t know existed. We met dozens of people that have changed our lives and are now lifelong friends – people I can’t imagine not knowing.
• Doctors and nurse who have taken impeccable care of Lukas (and the rest of us) from day one! The love, support, and care that we have gotten from our medical team has been a blessing from above. When we go to clinic, you are family there. They treat Lukas and Jakob like they would their own children. We would never have made it through this first year if it wasn’t for them. They have instilled peace, hope, understanding, and bravery into my everyday life. These amazing humans have made this journey less painful — Diane, Ann Marie, Christina, Kelsey, Magan, Noel, Andrea, Dr. Goodell, Dr. Agrawal, Dr. Chio, Dr. Tolentino, Kevyenne, Tina, and the rest of the team has made this year much easier on all of us, and we thank them more than we can ever express! You all have been our shining light in a world of darkness guiding us through this storm.
• We have learned the power of prayer and how important it is to know that God has had a hand in Lukas’ cancer journey from the beginning. He has been with us each step of the way, helping to heal him.
We want to thank everyone this last year for all that you have done for us. From the calls and texts to the gifts, meals, and everything in between, we couldn’t have done it without all of your support! Whether you are a friend, family member, or stranger – if you have said a prayer, shared a post, donated, or just read about and kept up with Lukas and his progress, we are eternally grateful.
One year in and there are more words that are added to my list that I would rather focus on: Gratitude, Love, Happiness, Strength and Hope!
I want you to see cancer through the eyes of Lukas – my happy, smiling, goofy, stubborn, strong little boy! Enjoy the montage!