In May of 2019 our 4-year-old son, Logan was diagnosed with one of the most aggressive forms of cancer – Burkitt’s Lymphoma. Logan had some stomach aches on and off for a week leading up to diagnosis, but we had no idea that his issues were anything out of the normal daycare virus until his abdomen displayed a hard egg-like mass overnight. We took him to his pediatrician and were sent to the ER at Levine’s Children’s Hospital. We were in the ER for 6 hours waiting to understand what was going on and were completely taken aback when we heard the “C” word for the first time. Life seemed to stop, and we couldn’t comprehend what was happening. This was a kid that never had to go to the doctor. He was seemingly healthy and playing hard just the day before.
Logan was admitted to the oncology floor at Levine’s that very night for exploratory surgery, with hopes of removing the mass the next day. After he went into the OR, we waited for what seemed like forever, until the surgeon came out to inform us that the mass could not be removed surgically, as it had attached itself to his large intestine. They got the biopsy and went back and implanted his port for upcoming treatment.
The next morning, he had a lumbar puncture and bone marrow biopsy to see if the cancer had spread. We met with the doctor and found out that Logan would be considered stage 4, but thankfully, the cancer had not spread and he had over 90% survival rate. Still, the tumor could double in size in 24 hours and required treatment that was just as aggressive as the cancer. Intense pre-treatment started immediately, directly followed by cycle 1 of chemotherapy. We did not go home for about 2 weeks. Our lives were turned upside-down.
Logan had a total of 4 intense cycles of chemotherapy that required us to be admitted to the hospital for 5+ days at a time with fever admissions in between the scheduled cycles. The cycles were 21 days and by the end of one, we were scheduled to go back for the next. It was nonstop, so every time we got home from the hospital, we would do laundry and repack in preparation for the next stay.
Cycle 2 started before his body had time to recover from cycle 1. Shortly after we got home from cycle 2, we had to return to the hospital with a high fever and severe mouth sores. We had even more doctors added to our medical team to try and figure out why his fever would not break. He had severe mucositis, high fevers (up to 105), and then pneumonia. Throughout our 8 day stay, he had his lung drained, another CT scan, and was put on oxygen. Then suddenly, his fever broke, and he was back to his happy self. Not knowing why this all happened was really frightening, but at least he was feeling better.
After cycle 3 was complete, scans showed that there could be active cancer which required that he have biopsies done again. During surgery, they discovered that his appendix had to be removed due to the fact that it had burst during that 8 day stay a month before. The antibiotics he was on made the appendix seal itself off. We were shocked by this. Great news that there was no more cancer! Crazy that he had been walking around, getting chemo with a burst appendix.
As of the end of August 2019, Logan has been in remission and we hope that he stays that way. Watching our little boy go through all the scans, blood transfusions, chemotherapy, and procedures was heartbreaking for us, while he was as happy as he could be throughout our 3 – 4-month journey. He often cared more about other people’s feelings than his own. Logan is now back at school with his friends, feeling great and running around with a smile on his face. One would never know what he has been through without looking at his scars. We call him Logibear and he is our superhero.