On March 10, 2011, twelve year old Joshua was diagnosed with a rare, fast-moving form of cancer called Burkitt’s Leukemia (B-cell ALL). After a month of illness, a trip to the emergency room revealed two large tumors in his abdomen. Joshua was admitted to
the hospital and started on aggressive chemo right away.
Joshua started a new chemo round every three weeks. He’d spend a week in the hospital and then two weeks at home. Much of the in-between time was spent in the hospital due to fevers and complications. He made frequent trips to the OR to have chemo put in his spine and for bone marrow tests. Joshua was very sick for many, many months, but fought like a champ. He was supposed to finish his chemo last October.
But then, with just two chemo rounds to go, Joshua relapsed into his central nervous system. Chemo had to begin all over again. Joshua also had cranial radiation and had
an Ommaya reservoir put into his head to deliver the chemo directly into the brain.
Our hope is that this will kill any hiding cancer cells Joshua has had a difficult road
but is doing really well right now.
He is scheduled to be done with treatment in May! There is a high risk of relapsing again, but he is a strong young man and we are optimistic that he’ll forever be a survivor! Joshua loves science, reading, and camping, and looks forward to being done with all this cancer stuff and going back to normal life again. He can’t wait to get back to school, and wants everyone to know that cancer doesn’t define him and that he is hopeful for the future!
UPDATE: On March 10, 2011, at age 12, Joshua was diagnosed with Burkitt’s leukemia. The next 14 months involved one relapse, 20-30 trips to the OR, 10+ trips to the ER, tumor lysis, facial paralysis, seizure/stroke activity, stem cell harvest, lung collapse, oxygen tube, intubation, dozens of blood and platelet transfusions, an ICU stay, hundreds of needle pokes, more scans than I can count, radiation, and 18 rounds of IV, intrathecal, intraomma, and oral chemo. He had a chest and a head port, and spent hundreds of days in the hospital. Plus a few times when we were told we could lose him. However, Joshua defied his low survival odds and, by God’s grace and mercy, is here to mark this day.
The road to recovery has been long, but Joshua has almost hit the two year mark out of treatment, and continues to improve every day! He is now 15 years old, doing wonderfully in 9th grade, and enjoys his class at Faith Heritage School. Joshua recently joined a gym and was able to walk a mile for the first time in years! He’s continually getting stronger, loves his family and playing video games, and infects everyone around him with his dry humor. We’re thankful for our team at Golisano, and credit them with saving Joshua’s life. Joshua looks forward to the rest of his life being cancer-free!