As some of you already know, it's been a rough couple weeks for my family, particularly my brother and his wife.
My four year old nephew, Brock, started growing a hard lump on his head a few weeks ago. It hurt him and was obviously a concern. My sister in law took him to the doctor to get it checked out. That doctor sent them to Primary Children's Medical Center because he suspected the bump to be something pretty serious.
After X-rays and tests, the doctors were pretty sure that it was a rare disease called Langerhans cell histiocytosis or LCH for short. It's a disease similar to cancer in that it causes the body to grow abnormalities out of extra cells. You can google it for more information (don't read Wikipedia, it makes it sound like he's for sure going to die) but treatment is the same for LCH and cancer, meaning chemo and radiation.
They scheduled a surgery to have the lump of skull removed and biopsied to make sure it was LCH. They were concerned with some abnormalities in the feel of the bump because that is more of a cancerous trait and LCH bumps are usually smooth, so they needed to be sure. They would remove that portion of his skull and replace it with an artificial plate.
The week between the initial tests and the surgery was torture for us all, but mostly for his parents. I don't know how they kept it together. I love my nephew fiercely so I found myself several times just breaking down at the uncertainly and the thought of watching my nephew endure such a huge trial. We didn't really know what was going to happen.
But then surgery day finally came. He didn't start surgery until about 3.5 hours after they originally said he would which made for a LONG day! Finally, the waiting and wondering was over and he was out of surgery and doing well. The pathology would take about a week to get the results but the neurosurgeon said he was almost positive it was LCH, which is good. It's more treatable.
I went home that night and bawled my eyes out. I had been so worried about the surgery (I can blame that on watching medical dramas) and my heart ached for all that my family whom I love more than anything has been going through. No one deserves this, especially not them. But I also knew that the Lord had strengthen us in all of this. It's been overwhelming and a testimony builder.
A week later, the test results came back positive for LCH. The next step was to have Brock's whole body scanned to see if it had grown anywhere else, and determine treatment from there. We were all very hopeful since there were no abnormalities in his blood work, that he didn't have growths anywhere else in his body. The disease starts to get trickier and more dangerous if it grows in organs. And none of us wanted to see him have to go through chemotherapy or radiation. Originally the oncologist told Tory that in the best case scenario they were looking at a year of chemo but later they said if his scans were clear it was possible to just watch him closely for a year.
Tuesday he went in all day for all the labs and tests. After being reviewed by the radiologists, they concluded that there were no growths elsewhere. Then they delivered the best news of all: he wouldn't need any chemo or radiation treatments at this time!! He needs to go back every three months for a year to watch it and hopefully nothing else develops. There is a chance of relapse in his lifetime but this was the best outcome we could have possibly hoped for. All the prayers in their behalf were heard and answered. What an enormous blessing!!
I can't describe the relief we're all feeling. I can't imagine the full extent of what my brother and his family have gone through emotionally and physically and I won't pretend to since I'm sure it's been so hard! Being his aunt has been taxing enough so I know that they have got to be so relieved and feeling so blessed. It's been a hard trial but the outcome has been a gift we only hoped for.
So much to our joy, Brock will be able to be his usual, fun self! He won't have to spend his summer feeling sick or start kindergarten halfway through his chemotherapy treatments. At the start of all this I felt overwhelming confusion as to why this had to happen. I really struggled with it. I still don't know why, but I know now more than ever that Heavenly Father is aware of us all and He blesses us with what we need. I know I've grown through this process and I'm sure they have too. Now I just hope they get a break for a good long while from tests and trials. They sure deserve it.
Congrats, guys! We sure love you!