Brayden Zackon

Age: 4 | Diagnosis: Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia | Date of Diagnosis: 05/21/14

Brayden went for a CBC related to a rash that he had developed in February 2014. The outbreak was known as HSP, which has no connection to Leukemia. The Doctor ordered two follow-up blood tests. The night of May 20th, I took Brayden for his blood work, which I wanted to get done before we left for the beach on the 22nd. That night I couldn’t sleep. I was up all night googling “rash, anemia, fever, and high white blood count”. All signs pointed in one direction- Leukemia. The next day I called the Doctors office as soon as they opened. I told them my concern and that I wanted the results as quickly as possible. The Doctor ended up calling me an hour later, I again told him my fear and that is when he told me this blood work contained some “red flags.” We were sent to Reading Hospital for STAT blood work – testing for Leukemia. My husband left work to meet my sister and me there. I was trying to stay as strong as possible for my son, but in reality, I wanted to break down into a million pieces. How can this be real? We weren’t even home yet, and we got a phone call from Reading Pediatrics, asking where we wanted to be admitted. My husband and I headed to CHOP. I had a million things running through my head. What is going on? How can this be happening? My son is only three years old… We sat in a cold dark room for hours with nurses, doctors, hematologists, and oncologists coming in and out. That was where they confirmed my worst nightmare. I am 8 months pregnant, and my son has cancer.

Brayden was admitted for almost three weeks until we were released. We spend a lot of time driving on the road to and from the clinic for treatments. Brayden is considered high-risk because of the number of Leukemic cells that were still in his bone marrow after his first phase of chemo. Today he started his 5th phase. He has a large cheerleading section routing him on including his best friend- his 7-month-old brother. I have stopped working to fight this battle with my son every step of the way.

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