Cadens Cancer Journey

There aren’t many things that can completely alter your reality of  life like having a doctor tell you your baby has cancer.  I was forced to face the raw reality of  how fragile life is and how quickly it can be taken away from you. I was no longer able to look at life as naively as I once did. That fear you are forced to face is something that will haunt you forever.

Before Caden was diagnosed with Cancer he had been sick for awhile. It was constant ER visits and then, “follow up with your sons pediatrician”.  Life became random weekly fevers and throwing up for no reason.  When I look back at the pictures, and that sick look in his face, I should have known. But how? I did everything I could. I was a 20 year old new mom just trying to figure things out. In hindsight I  try to give myself grace.

After all those ER visits, and follow ups with my sons pediatrician, a doctor in a small emergency room finally did something. He took an X-ray of my son’s chest.  That X-ray could very well be the reason Caden is still alive. The doctor came back into the room and said “it looks like your son might have an enlarged heart”.  I wasn’t led to think it was a big deal.  Because he told me, like every other doctor before, to follow up with my sons pediatrician.  Two days later Caden had an appointment with his pediatrician. I had forgotten about the “enlarged heart” that day.   I was focused on catching up with his shots and growth charts.  As we were talking about nothing in particular I carelessly mentioned the most previous ER visit.  I wont ever forget how weird it was to me that those word even came out of my mouth.  I still to this day believe it was God stepping in.

His pediatrician sent us to a few places to get some testing done.  After countless visits we ended up at Cook Children’s Hospital.  It was late and we were exhausted. The last thing Caden needed  was a sonogram.  I remember Caden laying on the bed and the nurse  casually talking to us.  Then, all of a sudden her demeanor changed as she looked up at the computer screen.  She seemed worried. She told us to wait one moment, she needed to get the doctor.  The doctor came in and they discussed some things over of the computer screen.  He had us clean Caden up and then sent us to a waiting room.  It was late by then.  The waiting room was empty and the lights weren’t even on.  The only bit of light was coming in from behind the front desk.  The nurse told me his pediatrician would give us a call on the front desk phone.  I thought to myself “that’s weird, can’t I just go home and the doctor can call me tomorrow”.

The phone rang. I picked it up and his pediatrician told me one of the worst things i’ll ever hear in my life.

“We think Caden has Cancer. There’s a very large  tumor in his chest and it’s compressing his airway.  We need to admit him into the hospital tonight”.

It’s hard to explain how I felt in that moment. The best way to describe it is numb. There I was standing alone in a dark, empty waiting room with my 16 month old in one hand and the front desk phone in the other.  My world had just turned upside down.


Fast forward to 8 months. So far Caden has handled the chemo fairly well. Well, other than the usual hair loss, No immunity to fight off anything, vomiting ALOT.. and the list goes on and on. We were always told that he could possibly have complications with any of the chemos he was given. It was always in the back of our mind that something could happen, but never could we imagine what was next for our little family.

December 5th was a normal chemo day for us. I remember sitting in our little family room on the oncology outpatient floor as I watch Caden eat a red Popsicle. It was dripping all over his tiny little chest right next to his port where the chemo and IVIG was enter his tiny little body. I had a hospital puke bag laying right next to me on stand by and my phone in my hand to snap a picture, like I always did. It had become my normal routine. We get to the hopsital. Get settled. Get a snack. Once everything was calm and Caden was taken care of. I took a picture to post on facebook so all our family could have an update. After I posted the picture I noticed Caden wasn’t feeling well and when the nurse came in to take his temperature I knew she was going to tell me he had a fever.


sorry not done yet, it takes a lot out of me to pull these details up.