Well, the big “C” word has decided to pay my family a visit. Meet my sister-in-law, Julie, my brother-in-law, Drew, my beautiful niece Ellie who is one, and my precious nephew, Levi, who is three. A few weeks ago, this family was no different from the rest of us. That’s right, three weeks ago this special boy was running around like any other kid at the pool. Last week we learned he has Leukemia.
I’ve been asked by several people how we found out he has Leukemia. Besides the typical viruses he would get from being a child he was an overall healthy boy. His parents are avid runners and work hard to eat healthy and live healthy lives. They are definitely a “fit” family. No fast food, only organic grocery stores, and so on. I guess if the big “C” word decides to visit, it doesn’t always neglect the healthy families.
Levi wasn’t feeling well a couple of weeks ago, but there were no real concerns until he began to cry with leg pain. The doctors decided to proceed with blood work. His levels were a bit concerning, so he was sent to Levine Children’s Hospital for further tests. To begin, the doctors thought he had Transient Erythroblastopenia of Childhood (TEC), so last weekend we were relieved when they returned home. The doctors continued to monitor him with blood work and when his levels did not improve last Wednesday they performed a bone marrow biopsy. Then, Wednesday night Drew and Julie received the news. Their precious boy has Leukemia and he would be admitted into Levine Children’s Center on Thursday morning….and just last like that their lives changed overnight.
I was physically sick. My husband, Hoss (Julie’s brother), was working out of town. We decided not tell our children until the weekend since this was their first week back at school from summer break. I had a full Pilates schedule all week. There were a few moments where my clients could see through me so I was able to share a little and that felt good. I wanted to be at the hospital with Julie, but I knew they needed their own time to process everything and learn the details of what they will be facing over the next three years. The wonderful girls I work with at the studio told me to treat it like I would if Julie just had a baby. So I headed to the grocery store to prepare some meals. I am a “fixer” and not being able to “fix” this is frustrating.
By Friday I could not wait any longer, so after my sessions I went straight to the hospital to see my Levi. While I was there Drew’s mom and sister came to visit. We sat in the playroom at a tiny table with tiny chairs. While Drew and Levi played, Meredith (Drew’s mom), Gretchen (Drew’s sister), Julie and myself sat at the table and tried to process it all. I knew the moment I looked into Gretchen’s eyes that the Vetter and Hinson families would become one family, and that it was up to the siblings to create support for Drew and Julie. You see, Drew and Julie are a very independent family, so it’s hard to be in a situation where you need to accept the help offered. Drew’s and Julie’s parents will be taking care of Ellie. I cannot imagine what it must be like to be the grandparent in this situation. I’m sure you want to hold your children like they are young again and make it all better. The siblings have teamed up to create a fundraising site for Drew and Julie to help them get going and know they are loved.
You can visit Levi’s fundraising page and see photos Leukemia Fundraiser for Levi Vetter. Drew’s mom created a CaringBridge site for Levi where you can keep up with his progress. In addition, Julie has always kept a family blog and will continue this through Levi’s journey. You can find it at The Vetters Blog “Figuring Life Out Together.”
So…this is the beginning of a new life that chose them. Levi has had one blood transfusion and has started chemotherapy. Their friends have shown great support and our family is more grateful than words can express. For me personally, I am even more driven to invest a ton of energy into Core Compassion Project for Levi. Cancer is cancer no matter how you look at it. It’s mean and ugly, and until we find a cure we will try to make things a little easier on the families it decides to visit. We have total faith that Levi will beat this and come out stronger because of it. Thank you for your prayers and continued support through this long battle.
Healthy Please XOXO,