Daniel is a very quiet young man who loves to play video games and just be a kid and then one day he came home from school and said, “Mom I don’t feel good!” I didn’t think anything about this but then I’d check on Daniel at night and he would be perspiring badly or he would say,” Mom my stomach hurts.” It was just little things we thought maybe just normal I don’t feel goods.
After multiple trips to the Emergency Room, doctor visits, and even being admitted in the hospital and treated for pneumonia, Daniel grew worse. I will never forget Daniel’s skin changing to look like spider bites, and drying to the point it looked like a snake shedding a skin. At one point I was told Daniel had enlarged lymph nodes in his stomach. Daniel could not run in Physical Education class because he would get out of breath and have to sit down. All I kept hearing was his bloodwork was fine. As a mom, “I knew something was wrong.”
Daniel could not eat, had lost fifty-five pounds, was getting weaker, and I made one more trip to the Emergency Room in Paducah, Kentucky. This trip to the Emergency Room was different. Nurses were running in with several bags of IV medications, while my son laid in the bed helpless. It seemed like an eternity but finally a doctor walked in and told me they were transferring my son to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville, TN to be treated by a team of infectious disease doctors.
I made the trip with my daughter following the ambulance all the way to Nashville, TN, and thinking to myself I have to hold it together for Daniel as well as my daughters.
After a few days of testing, being on oxygen, lots of antibiotics, and being told Daniel did not have cancer, we were discharged from the hospital and sent back home to Paducah, Kentucky. Three days later, Daniel was so much sicker that we made the 2 ½ hour drive to Vanderbilt Children’s Emergency Department, and he was admitted. As a mother I had to speak up, “I told the team I had all respect for the work they did but as a mother I felt they were missing something – whatever it is it’s hiding from everyone!” The doctor told me she was going to do one more thing – a biopsy to see what was hiding in Daniel’s body.
On July 2017, my birthday after the biopsy I got the news no mother ever wants to hear – your son has cancer, after being told multiple times that it wasn’t cancer.
Daniel stayed in the hospital and went through very aggressive chemotherapy at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tennessee for eight months.
Daniel had a battle plan in his mind and he fought so hard to become a survivor! I am so proud of my son’s courage and strength. In January 2018, we were given the good news that Daniel is in remission. Daniel has some side effects but life is good.
Daniel was able to go the JROTC ball in 2018 and to see him in uniform made me so proud. There were things Daniel had always wanted to do and now he has fulfilled his dream of hunting as well as owning a four-wheeler. Daniel was able to go on his Make-A-Wish trip to Hawaii this year, too!