When I discovered I was going to be a mom, I spent the entirety of both pregnancies praying that they grew into great people, and they have. They’re children and by no means perfect, but my kids are the good guys. When you’re a mom, you expect to have struggles with curfews, grades and maybe discouraging them from a useless college major. Last Monday, when his fever and nausea wouldn’t subside, I brought my son into the ER for flu-like symptoms. When it was revealed that he didn’t have the flu or meningitis, I prepared for a mono diagnosis and to give a stern lecture. I wasn’t prepared to hear acute myeloid leukemia.
If I had another kid, maybe my mind would still be frozen in last Tuesday, when some stranger tried to convince me that it wasn’t my fault. I might still be in that horrible moment when frightened tears spilled from my son’s eyes. But I don’t have another kid. I have a very brave boy, who by the end of the day, was able to take an active part in conversations about his illness and commit to getting better. He still plays Xbox, cracks jokes, watches regular show, and gets embarrassed when Tay and I sang Abba and Francis and I danced to Apache. He is the same kid; fatigued, but somehow stronger than I ever knew. He’s not being strong because he’s holding the rest of us up. His bravery compels us to lift him the rest of the way. I can’t let him be the only brave person in the room.
My friends and family have been a blessing. Prayer and meditation and the warm thoughts of others have been our saving grace. I don’t know what I would be doing without them. Their love has carried us through. As I am not currently able to work a normal schedule and cancer is a very expensive illness to have, one of my dearest friends has set up this donation site for Tyson’s treatment. His FANTASTIC doctors are pleased with his response to treatment. He hasn’t lost his appetite, and has actually gained weight. His nausea is limited and vomiting almost non-existent. He hasn’t had fever in over a week and the headaches are dissipating as well. If he does lose his hair down the line, he has enough people in his life to make sure his fitted game is ill. I plan to make sure he has all the support he could need for his physical and mental well-being.
Tomorrow morning, he receives his last dose of chemotherapy as part of the Induction phase of his treatment. The hospital staff has been supportive and I’m beginning to breathe. As scary as it is, I never see him not being cured. Every scenario that comes to mind involves my son saying, “Oh, you did what this summer? Cool story. Me? Not much. Just kicked leukemia’s ass.” What makes him awesome is that he’s such a humble kid, he’d never say anything like that. My quiet boy who loves football and helping people probably won’t make a fuss about it at all. He’ll smile and brush it off, as though anyone can do it. But we know better.
Earlier this year, we talked about this poem, and it came to mind when he was initially diagnosed:
If you can fill the unforgiving minuteWith sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!- “If” by Rudyard Kipling