On Monday, June 6th, 2016 at two years old, King was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (high risk). His treatment plan is three and a half years of DAILY chemotherapy. He receives oral chemo daily, intravenously chemo and chemo in his spine. King also has an enzyme deficiency called G6PD that complicates his treatment. It is a rare and deadly combination to have both G6PD and leukemia. G6PD is lifelong there is no cure. Leukemia affects the white blood cells and G6PD affects red blood cells. Avoidance of triggers is critical as once triggered it requires a blood transfusion and can be fatal.
At this point King takes 70+ pills monthly and it will continue to increase as his weight increases. King has many side effects but the two severe ones are brain swelling and nerve damage. He lost the ability to walk for months but thankfully we were able to rehabilitate him and today you would never know.
King is truly a walking miracle. He goes through things that many adults are not able to tolerate. He’s had more spinal taps in two and a half years than an average adult will have in their lifetime. We are infinitely grateful for each and every day King wakes up to spend another day with us. He’s a warrior with the heart of a lion. We know he will be the change we wish to see in the world.
I work full time and my husband (who has a bachelor’s degree in Nursing) stays home with him and his siblings full time as it is too expensive both monetarily and physically. Although surviving on one income has caused a financial strain on the family and an increase in King’s medical collection debt, King’s health has significantly improved since my husband made the decision to be his primary caretaker.
When a child is diagnosed with cancer it affects the entire family. Many survivors deal with chronic medical issues once the treatment is completed. Treatment should not cause secondary cancer. Yet, pediatric cancer is heavily underfunded. We are childhood cancer advocates and believe research funding is important as it can lead to less toxic treatment and cures. Most patients die from the complications associated with cancer and its treatment. We are on a mission to spread global awareness about childhood cancer in hopes that one day research is done to declare cancer a thing of the past. All children deserve to grow up!
Despite all that King has been through and continues to go through, he is always smiling and inspires us and countless others daily. King does not let anything stop him and neither will we. Cancer does not define us, WE define cancer.