To hear the words “Your child has Leukemia,” is probably one of the worst things a parent could ever experience. My name is Shelly Sommer, and on March 6th, 2017, those words shattered our world. You see, I’m a mom to triplets, who at the time were 4 years old, happy, playful, and full of energy, except Xavier. Xavier seemed to be run down and sick all of the time but we could never figure out why–until one fateful trip to the ER when he had a bloody stool.
I’ll never forget the doctor at our local ER saying to me, “What hospital do you want to go to?” and the total confusion that I felt with that question. What do you mean what hospital? We are in the hospital. “No,” he said, “you need a children’s hospital. Xavier’s blood counts are extremely high.” So, I packed up my four- year old and we headed to Louisville, two and a half hours from home. We didn’t come home for almost three weeks.
Over the next few months things were insane to say the least. There was a lot of travel back and forth to the hospital, more illnesses than I had ever even heard of–from little things like pink eye being major–to life threatening illnesses like orbital cellulitis. But my baby fought, and he fought hard, and two and a half years later things settled down, we were in a routine, and life was back on track. Or so I thought.
Then in July 2019, Xavier’s identical twin brother began having severe leg pain, so off to the ER we went, where the doctors thought he was experiencing muscle spasms and sent us home. The next night it was worse. He was screaming, inconsolable from the pain in his back and legs…back to the ER where he was admitted and put on a morphine pump, and then they started running tests. The next thing I knew they were transferring us to Louisville because there was a bad marker in his bloodwork. The MRI came back with the result of abnormal bone marrow. WAIT, WHAT?! was all I could think. What, what is happening?! Logan was diagnosed with the same B-Cell ALL as Xavier on July 29th, 2019.
So now our fight started over with the endless nights of worrying about fevers and traveling to hotels for treatment at the hospital the next day. The fever watches, the sickness, the hair falling out, the trauma; it all started again.
At this point we were travelling to Louisville A LOT and we monitored our third triplet, Shelby-jae, monthly because although she’s not at any greater risk than any other child, neither was Logan once he turned 6 (January 2019), so we go, we pray, we hope, and we keep our fingers crossed that this nasty, horrific disease doesn’t strike our family a third time.
Xavier’s treatments are coming to an end–June 30, 2020 will be his last one. Logan is finally settling into a groove and will be able to return to school just as the year closes out. And our little family will forever be marked by those nasty words, “Your child has Leukemia.”
Xavier wants to be a doctor that puts in ports when he grows up and Logan wants to be a policeman.