William in November
On November 2, William fractured his femur. On December 3, his orthopedic specialist told me he had developed a tumor that we needed to see an oncologist about. On December 13, we met with the oncologist who told me he was "very concerned" and wanted William to have an MRI. On December 14, William was put under general anesthesia and had an MRI. On December 18, the oncologist scheduled a biopsy to determine if the tumor was benign or malignant. On December 22, William again underwent general anesthesia to have the biopsy. If the tumor was malignant, a pediatric surgeon would place a port in William's chest for future treatment. The biopsy result were inconclusive, so we waited for 7 days for results.
On December 28, we met with William's oncologist for the results of the biopsy. By this time, I was in a very dark place. I suspected the tumor was malignant. The pathology report told us that William had osteosarcoma, bone cancer. I was absolutely heart broken. Nine months earlier, my husband had died. Now, the doctor was telling me my son had cancer. Really?!?! My mind immediately clicked into action mode. Time to fight. But the doctor wanted a second opinion. For some reason, he was skeptical of the diagnosis. He sent everything to the Mayo Clinic and told us to wait another (ANOTHER!) week for the results.
On December 30, at 6pm, my phone rang. It was the oncologist. The second pathology report had just come in and William did not have bone cancer! He told me we would meet the next week to discuss treatment.
William has heterotopic ossification. When he fractured his femur, his body responded to the trauma by producing bone where there should not be bone. Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done to treat it for the next 12-18 months. If we tried to remove it during that time, it would just come back. So we wait. For a year. Then, William will have surgery to remove all of the new/unwanted bone.
After being told your son has cancer, I think they could have told me that he had an alien living inside his leg and I would have been overjoyed. I am thankful. Thankful that he doesn't need a port and chemo. Thankful that we don't have to fight cancer. Thankful that God heard the prayers of hundreds of people and had compassion on us.
During the last year I have become very confident in two things: First, my God is big and he is generous. He is sovereign over all that has happened and generous to walk through it all with us. He gives strength to face challenges and brings healing. Second, my little man is a fighter. During the next year, he will continue to have trouble walking, running and playing like most kids. But he will face those challenges with joy and determination.
William's teacher emailed me on Thursday to tell me about William's week. She shared the following with me:
"I wanted to tell you the story, so you know how “determined” your little daredevil is…. He was trying to climb the rock wall at recess on Tues but was having trouble pushing himself up with his hurt leg. I was standing behind him in case he fell. It seemed as though his injured leg didn’t have the strength to lift him up so I helped him down and suggested he wait a couple weeks and let his leg heal a little more. Before I knew it, he was headed up the wall again. I positioned myself behind him (I am a bit of a nervous Nelly!) but did not help. He climbed all the way to the top with a big smile on his face. J He was not about to let his leg get in the way of reaching his goal."
Thank you for walking this crazy journey with us. Thank you for your prayers for William - God heard and answered so generously. Please continue to pray for us. Pray for William's tumor to shrink in size. Pray for him to adapt well. Pray for our hearts as we continue to grieve the loss of Barry and walk this road without him. We all miss him so much. Pray against fear.
We will continue to learn to walk in the land of the living... laughing at the irony of it all.