Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941
New York, September 11, 2001
These dates and images have been immortalized in our minds, across all living generation, as we faced the darkest days our country has ever known. D-Day is a term often used in military parlance to denote the day on which a combat attack or operation is to be initiated. As July 1, 2012 approaches we recall the events that took place prior to our Personal D-Day.
Sunday July 26, 2011 we were taking a trip to church with our daughter, Emma and our son, Lincoln.
All of a sudden I heard a sound behind me that made me think Linconln dropped something, but when he started crying we saw he had thrown up in the carseat. We went straight home to clean up and check his temperature and watch him closely, but he seemed to act just fine for the rest of the day without another episode. I went back to work on a big project on Monday and we never really thought much more about it.
The next few days we got to spend some time outside in the sun and I noticed that Lincoln was getting freckles on his face. The only thing that crossed my mind was that he had been out in the sun too much, until I started to wonder why they looked purple. I asked Jenny what she thought but we just couldn't comprehend that it could be anything else.
Thursday June 30th was Jenny and my 10th wedding anniversary and we kept it simple and went out on a dinner date since she was working early the next morning. The kids would go to grandma's the next day but little did we know what would happen next. Sometime in the afternoon Jenny's mom called her at work to say that Lincoln had thown up again and that the spots on his face were breaking out even more. At this point there was cause for concern and Jenny called the doctor to see if we could get him in before the end of the day. I got home early, just before Jenny and she said that the doctor would only tell us that it could be an infection of somekind until Lincoln was seen. If there was anything else we would have to go to Portland to the ER to find out more there. We didn't waste anytime knowing the urgency of the situation and we were on our way up the road to Portland.
It doesn't take too long to get to Portland since it is only about 35 miles and we are right off of I-5 on the north end of Salem, Oregon. The Oregon Health and Science University is up on a high hillside overlooking the city of Portland and the Willamette river.
Doernbechers Childrens Hospital is right there, a place we had been many other times for family.
We headed straight to the emergency room at OHSU to find out what we needed to know. We were really nerveous as we waited in the room they had set up to draw blood. I don't know about you, but I have no problem with needles, but when they had to poke my 2 year old it felt like it was my first time.
Durning the next few hours I don't remember a lot of the details as we were trying to keep Lincoln calm as late as it was. At some point I remember the doctors coming in, after they set us up in a room in the oncology unit, and they began to tell us what we were up against. We were told earlier that it was one of two things and while we were praying it was not the worst of it, we braced for the impact.
"Your son has leukemia, we are 99.9% sure of it"
That is when the shock started setting in and the numbness took over. As the doctors continued to talk about the treatments and the numbers, the feelings of our son's life being any shorter than our own, began to infiltrate our hearts and minds. It had been a long day and it was late, so we tried to rest in the hospital room until we could began to take action the very next morning.
July 1, 2011 would be our D-day "the day on which a combat attack or operation is to be initiated" and chemotherapy would began the attack on the leukemia cells for the next 29 days.
For one year now our son's little body had endured more chemical warfar that all of our family combined. He has been a warrior on the front line of this battle and has taken more harm than us all. He deserves a Gold medal from the president, but he would settle for a huge grant for childrens cancer reasearch. While some call his cancer, which is one of the most commen of all children's cancers rare, his fighting spirit is like any other child who is faced with a life threatening disease. He is fearless and only has hope that one day he will get to do all of the things that every little boy and girl should be able to do, live a life into adulthood. July 1 may be the one day a year that we don't want to think about, but now that our eyes have been opened to a world full of kids with cancer, we have to move forward equipt with the knowledge and understanding that awareness is the first step toward funding reasearch that will cure our little ones. Just like in any state of emergency we need to save our children first because they are our future.
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