When It All Started
Shortly after John's 7th birthday, around March of 2002, he was ill everyday with a low grade fever, leg pain and headache. I took him to his ped several times and was always told the same thing it is a flu that is hanging around. John was in the first grade, he loves to sing and was so looking forward to the spring concert on May 6,2002, but he was too ill for school. I called his ped and got him an appointment.
I was told the same thing that I had been told for 5 weeks he was ok. I got up and stood in front of the door and told the doc that I knew something was wrong with my son at that point he asked me how long he had been so pale he always was as he is a redhead the doc did a blood test and told me to take John to the ER at Childrens Hospital of Pittsburgh. I asked why and he said John's red count was 4. I asked what it should be and he said between 11 and 13. In my heart I knew in that moment that he had leukemia. We went to Childrens and at about the time his concert was starting he began to get blood transfusions he could not believe what was happening to him. On May 7th he had a bone Marrow Aspiration and on May 8th, his sister Joan's 12th birthday, we were told that John had Acute lympoblastic Leukemia. On May 9th, which was Assention Thursday, John had his medaport placed and began his chemo. From the very beginning he never complained and he told me he was offering his pain to God to save souls with. John was Consecrated to God the Father on his Baptism Day, Feb 12, 1995. His love of God and his faith and his beautiful smile and his acceptance of all that he has had to bear are what makes him special. On June 1, 2002 John made his First Holy Communion a year early it was the Feast day of Corpus Christi. I knew he needed the strength that he would find in the Eucharist and the grace he would need to fight this cancer. We received special permission from our Bishop for John to be Confirmed 6 years early, with his older brother Nick. On March 3, 2003, John was in patient and very ill when that date came. Our pastor asked the bishop to come to the hospital to Confirm John, and he did. John made history in our Diocese twice he is the only 8 year old ever Confirmed and the only person ever that a bishop has Confirmed in a hospital. John has 3 siblings Faith almost 16, Nick 14 and Joan 13. He is loved very much and everyone has taken his illness hard especially Joan. Last year was very hard, as John was tutored thru 2nd grade only going to school about 10 half days at the end to get used to being around children again. He did not sing for a year. I missed his sweet little voice. I was not allowed to hug or kiss him for a year he was mad at me for letting them do all those treatment to him. This past March John began Long Term Maintenance. His treatment will last until July of 2005. One of the Moms on a cancer list serve I am on said his motto could be "Chemo takes a dive in 2005!" John likes that. In April I got John a collie mix puppy, and kids played with him again, he got to join baseball in May and his hair grew back and he started to sing again and one day he said you can hug me Mom but no kisses, the next day he said I'll have a kiss to and I got my little boy back! John is treated at Childrens Hospital of Pittsburgh, in the oncology clinic.