“Your son has leukemia...”
The doctor went on to explain the disease, its progression, treatment options, possible outcomes... but my brain was stuck on that one word, leukemia. Like a computer frozen on a bit of bad code, my mind couldn't move past that one bit of information. My son has leukemia.
“...The disease is fast and aggressive. We need to be faster and more aggressive.”
Doctor Misra pulled me back into the moment, gave me focus and purpose. Leukemia was killing my son and we needed to kick its ass. Now!
As a father, and a guy, I needed that. I needed to know what I could do to protect my son. I needed a target and a plan of attack. I needed that subtle anger and determination in her voice when she explained how leukemia was trying to kill my son, but we were going to kill it first. She was not going to lose her patient, and I was not going to lose my son.
Joshua's primary nurse in the hospital was like a tiger protecting her young. Jennifer made sure Joshua had everything he needed, and got the best possible care, if she had to turn the hospital upside-down to do it. She had no problem getting in the face of technicians, doctors, or administrators. Her patient came first, period. Joshua was her's and God help anyone or anything that got in her way. The leukemia didn't have a chance.
In those first days and weeks we were surrounded by that kind of determination. When Joshua went into ICU all of the doctors and nurses approached his treatment like a battle they were determined to win. I've never experienced such passion and dedication in my life. They set the tone – there was no time for sadness or tears, no place for fatalism or depression – it is a war against disease, and we are going to win.
My friends and fellow writers around the world have eagerly joined the fight. Eden Baylee, a fellow independent author, stepped forward to lead that online front. She started Indies Unite for Joshua and took up the banner of raising money for Joshua's care with enthusiasm and determination. The “Metallica Baby” logo she designed for Indies Unite for Joshua perfectly embodies the spirit of a young man fighting for his life. There is no surrender, only victory.
Joshua is surrounded and empowered by strong women determined to bring down the gates of hell if that's what it takes to cure him. But none are stronger than his mother – my wife of twenty-seven years. Her cool passionate resolve to carry her son through – on her back if necessary – is boundless. Next weekend is Mother's Day and I will be guest posting on RachelThompson's blog – Rachel In The OC – about the special bond between mother and son and the difficulties of being the parent of a young adult with cancer.
The Indies Unite for Joshua campaign site is featuring a series of videos this month. Rachel's video will air Mother's Day weekend while I invade her blog. Please, take time to watch the videos and support the many people who have given their time, talent, and treasure to help my son in his fight against leukemia – and come by Rachel's blog for my special Mother's Day post.