The Las Cruces DA’s office is pulling together to help our co-worker and friend, Attorney Heather Chavez, raise funds to care for her son Landon who was recently diagnosed with Leukemia. We have had various fundraisers and now we have formed “TEAM LANDON” for the walk on Saturday, June 6th. Our hearts go out to those who fight the ultimate battle so please join us for this event. If you would like to donate to Landon please go to http://www.donationto.com/landon .
“It might be leukemia.” Those are the words that were spoken to my husband, Richard, and I on January 16, 2015, referring to our 6 year old son, Landon….the devastating words that no parent wants to hear and the words that forever changed our lives. As my brain tried to absorb what I had just been told, my mind was racing with questions: “What does this mean? Could he be wrong? How could this happen? What do we do? Can he be treated? How is it possible that the gravely ill little boy in the hospital bed next to us is the same little boy that – just a few short weeks before – we had watched excitedly open his Christmas presents and play tirelessly with his sisters all day? Is my baby going to die?”
Landon practically ran out of the womb. From day one, he was a cute, sweet and cuddly ball of energy that never seemed to tire. Except for a respiratory virus at 7 months and a few occasional colds here and there, Landon was always healthy. He played flag football and t-ball and constantly entertained himself by chasing his two older sisters, Mackenzie and Emily. That’s why, on January 8, 2015 – the first day of school after winter break – it was surprising when Landon woke up extremely fatigued, complaining of dizziness and nausea. He was weak and said his legs were hurting. I kept him home from school, giving him Tylenol and trying to keep him hydrated. At the time, I thought it was possibly a stomach bug that would go away in a day or so. But, by that evening, he was vomiting, had a high fever and was hurting so badly that we could not even pick him up off of the sofa without him screaming in pain.
Richard and I took him to the ER and, after 7 hours of tests and x-rays, we were sent home with a diagnosis of strept throat and a prescription for antibiotics. Landon appeared to get better over the next few days, but was still a little sluggish and complaining of pain in his legs. He said he felt well enough to go to school and he went the following Monday through Thursday. Even still, we wanted to follow up with his own pediatrician but, unfortunately, we were not able to get an appointment with him until the following week (January 23) so we kept giving him his medicine and treating the symptoms. By January 16, 2015, he was in so much pain that he could not walk or even roll onto his side. We went back to the ER and, almost immediately, they diagnosed him with septicemia and said they were going to transport him to the El Paso Children’s Hospital. As we tried to understand what was happening, the Doctor came in, knelt down next to Landon’s bed, and said those words….. “We had a pathologist take a look at the slides and he thinks it might be leukemia.”
I don’t remember much after that moment, because it seemed like my world literally stopped. Although my mind was racing with questions, fear overtook me and everything around me seemed to be going in slow motion. Landon was soon transported to El Paso and, after a night in the Pediatric ICU, was officially diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). Further testing revealed that he has what is called the Philadelphia chromosome which puts him in a higher risk category. He has a wonderful team of Doctors and nurses who have made this devastating journey a bit more bearable. His course of treatment will be 2 ½ years.
Telling Landon’s sisters was extremely difficult. They are 12 and 8 and we had no idea what to say or how they would take it. Needless to say, both were very upset and miss their brother tremendously. They understand that he has cancer but this has been a devastating blow to their lives. Everything has changed for them. For being so young, they have been incredibly supportive to him – even offering to cut their own hair when he began losing his. We have already gone through multiple hospital admissions and will be going through many more before the end of treatment. We have had an outpouring of prayers and support which keep us going day to day.
Landon has already proven that he is a fighter and I believe with everything that I am, that he will pull through this. I choose to believe that Landon will be cancer free one day and that his life will be profoundly shaped and influenced by his journey with ALL.
Thank you for your prayers.
To donate to Landon http://www.donationto.com/landon