as told by his mom, Melissa.
On September 26th, 2014, the world forever changed for me, my husband and my children. That was the day my oldest son, Jordan, was diagnosed with AML Leukemia. He was 16.
Jordan was born on July 29th, 1998, little brother to Priscilla. He was beautiful, perfect in every way, with little waves of blonde hair on top of his head. We soon found out Jordan did nothing slowly. He took his first steps early and was walking – more like running – at eight months old. We knew right away that Jordan wasn’t like anyone else. He did it Jordan’s way, without ever slowing down.
Our family grew and Jordan became a big brother to little sister, Cora, and later, little brother, Landon. Jordan has always been what I call my tender heart. This is what makes him who he is, stronger, better, champion of the “underdog”, wise for his age.
He was also a daredevil, to put it mildly. If he thought it could be climbed, it was. Jumped off? Most likely, giving me little heart attacks. From very young, he loved policemen and the army; he wanted to help protect people.
As a family, we have always been very close. Dinners together at the dinner table, hours of talking. I felt very lucky that as the kids got older, they still talked to me and my husband and shared so much. I loved every minute of it. We did so much together – shopping, bowling, movies, board games, bonfires, dancing in the kitchen.
So when Jordan got sick, it changed our lives drastically. Never, never would I have thought that one of my children would get sick, let alone with cancer. My kids ate lots of good food, there wasn’t really any cancer at all in our family, so we were ok. I brushed it off. There were reasons other children got sick and it wouldn’t happen to mine.
Hearing the words that your child has cancer is literally terrifying. So many thoughts go through your head and you’re left spinning with questions, disbelief, what ifs, and unbearable hurt.
Jordan’s diagnosis was AML Leukemia. It’s a type of blood cancer. ALL Leukemia is the more common type and the treatments are different. We were told that Jordan would not be able to leave the hospital for six to eight months and would get four rounds of chemotherapy. After each round, we would wait for his bone marrow to start making proper blood again. If it wasn’t, he was at risk for getting sick from everything and anything. Even his own body could hurt him because he had no white fighting cells protecting him against anything.
Through it all though, Jordan was still Jordan. Joking, laughing, being his sarcastic self. He was remarkable.
After his first round of chemotherapy, Jordan received a bone marrow biopsy to make sure chemo was doing its job. That’s when we found out Jordan would need a bone marrow transplant to help reduce the risk of his AML returning.
Right away, Jordan was for it. He even told me it was just one more thing he had to do. We were lucky – a perfect match was found. A 10 for 10. Some people never find a match.
Jordan ended up getting an infection from having no white cells. He ended up in P.C.C.U., intensive care, and we almost lost him.
After the rest of his rounds of chemotherapy, we went to Toronto Sick Kids hospital for another round of even harsher chemotherapy and his new bone marrow. We were there for just over two months;
Since the transplant, there have been lots of ups and downs. During all of it, we have been fortunate to have support and help – doctors and nurses who cared for Jordan and became like family, our friends and family who went above and beyond, even complete strangers helping us in some way.
One organization stands out for us. Childcan. I think back to the beginning when Jordan was first diagnosed. We were introduced to Childcan and met Renee, a very caring, thoughtful, compassionate woman who worked for them. We looked forward to when she would come to Jordan’s hospital room. She became family too.
Childcan was there for us by providing our family with meal vouchers, gas cards, hospital parking passes and, when we needed help for some bills that had fallen behind because of the huge financial strain, Childcan helped us pay those too.
Not only did they help relieve some of the financial stresses, but they also helped put smiles on the faces of my entire family with the Christmas party they hold for their Childcan families. We got to do crafts, socialize with other families, have pizza, and even a visit from Santa for the kids with presents too. They even have a day where all Childcan families can go and have a day of fun, laughter and crazy rides at Canada’s Wonderland!
So, for me, even though Childcan has helped my family financially and I am forever grateful for that, they did an even more amazing thing; they replaced the tears and fears and brought smiles and laughter to my whole family in a time when it was so needed.
For the most part, Jordan’s doing pretty well. We are still in the hospital one day a week every other week, but that’s nothing compared to before. He looks amazing. He has started school again – grade 12 this September. Jordan still has a passion for helping people but he’s decided he wants to explore health care. He thinks that might be something he can do to help people who are going through what he did.
And as a family we are together again, all under one roof and talking up a storm at the dinner table.